Images from the 1960s and 70s...and we are still struggling for...
OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY!
I am sending you a photo of me as "Wonder Woman from Connecticut" - This event was held on Sept. 7, 1974. It was the Eastern Region NOW Conference and was kind of a rebuttal to the Miss America Pagaent being held at the same time.
If I recall, it was named "No Myth, America".
At the time, I was Assistant State Coordinator of Connecticut NOW, having just recently re-located to Stamford from Raleigh, North Carolina in 1972. In Raleigh, I was the first president of the NOW chapter on the North Carolina State campus that was formed in 1971.The NOW State Board selected me to represent Connecticut along with the other eastern region NOW Wonder Women. it was an exhilerating experience. My 75 year old mother came from Philadelphia to watch us parade on the board- walk and we received some fairly good national publicity. My husband, Ken, who has always been a staunch supporter of both me and the feminist cause, took the picture. He thought it ironic that the marquee behind me was showing a porno film.
After that conference, Irene was elected Connecticut State Coordinator and held that office for 2 years -an exciting and productive time. After 10 years of total immersion in feminism, she returned to her career in radio, doing a talk show where she could help promote feminist issues (among others). She moved to Sarasota, Florida in 1987 where she continued in radio and TV.
photo by Ken Herman
On the day of the march down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on August 22, 1970, I went with small group of women, led by Betty Friedan, to a couple of places downtown. We went to the Social Security Administration to protest and we also went to the Marriage Bureau.
The photo I have was taken by a photographer at the Marriage Bureau. It wound up on the front page of the Daily News that evening.
Anyway, the three signs that are on our site now, you will see two of them in this picture. I made all three of the signs the night before the march. I
brought one for myself, and I figured that I would give the others to women who may not have brought their own signs. And that's what I did. I know I gave one of the signs to a very nice young woman who was 18 years old. I think she is the one holding the sign about starving a rat.
When the Women's Liberation Movement started, I was already a housewife with a small child. I had a traditional husband. I was expected to keep the house clean, do the laundry and ironing, cook and take care of the baby. The baby had cerebral palsy, and that involved my taking her to various therapy programs. It was rough because I didnít know how to drive, and had to take trains and buses wherever I went. Sometimes it would take all day long to go to and from some of these places. I went to the Womenís Center whenever I could. Iíd say that I was there at least once a week. The baby was always with me, in her stroller.
I was in the group of women who took over the Statue of Liberty to publicize the August 27th march. I was in the distraction group. We had signs which we kept covered up in the ferry getting there. Then we paraded around with the signs to keep the attention of the guards while the other women went up into the statue and put out their banner.
My direct involvement with the Movement began in 1969. In 1984, I joined NOW for and have been involved with NOW ever since.
For the last eleven years, Iíve produced and hosted a feminist talk show, a public access program that is seen in many parts of New Jersey and Philadelphia as well. The program is going to be archived at the Sophia Smith Collection. Iím very proud of that and of all the women from my NOW chapter, Morris County NOW, who volunteer their time to produce the show.
There was a ban on cars in the 5th Ave. march. Here , Bettye Lane captured moment where I argued my way into the march . I was the only car in the parade.
Why the words on the sign ?
Not all women artists thought their art work was not included in shows as a feminist issue. Yet women Artists were unseen in gallery affiliations or being excluded male-dominated museum shows The first all women exhibition was in 1970 called " X12" - twelve women (I was one of the 12)
From the manifesto - "We have paid our dues in today's art world first as artists, doubly as women. " Alida
photo: Bettye Lane