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Activist Women Within: Re-thinking Red, Yellow, Brown and Black Power through Oral History

Thu, October 13, 3:15 to 4:45pm, Renaissance Long Beach, Broadlind 1

Session Submission Type: Roundtable


This roundtable explores the utility, challenges and contradictions of oral history and oral history methodologies in terms of uncovering the gender dimensinons of 1960s power movements, yellow, red, brown, and black. Panelists will address the challenges they have faced in their own work. Lorena Oropeza’s work traces the rise and fall of the land grant movement in New Mexico led by Chicano activist Reies Tijerina who built his organization upon the exploitation of his daughter and wife. May Fu explores how Vietnamese diasporic activists mobilizing an antiwar movement clashed with local community politics in the US, including over proper gender roles.
Robyn C. Spencer (Lehman College) will discuss how oral history can reveal untold stories of love at a time of war by exploring how Panther women’s relationships with other women sustained their activism. In her just completed movie, Warrior Women, Beth Castle examines the lives of one of the fiercest women in the American Indian movement, Madonna Thunder Hawk. She will show clips of the movie. Thunder Hawk has also agreed to appear as a commentator. In this roundtable, each of us will explore the ways in which women's organizing differed and why and also the dilemmas we faced in deciding what to include given the various traumas involved and political reputations at stake.

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