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From Megaphones to Microphones: Speeches of American Women, 1920-1960by Sandra J. Sarkela
Synopses & Reviews
Until recently, scholars assumed that women stopped speaking after they won the vote in 1920 and did not reenter political life until the second wave of feminism began in the 1960s. Nothing could be further from the truth. While national attention did dissipate after 1920, women did not retreat from political and civic life. Rather, after winning the vote, women's public activism shifted from a single-issue agenda to the myriad social problems and public issues that faced the nation. As such, women began to take their place in the public square as political actors in their own rights rather than strictly campaigning for a women's issue.
This anthology documents women's activism during this period by introducing heretofore unpublished public speeches that address a wide array of debated topics including child labor, international relations, nuclear disarmament, consumerism, feminism and anti-feminism, social welfare, family life, war, and the environment. Some speeches were delivered in legislative forums, others at schools, churches, business meetings, and media events; still others before national political organizations. To ensure diversity, the volume features speakers of different ages, races, classes, ethnicities, geographic regions, and political persuasions. The volume editors include short biographical introductions as well as historical context for each selection.
Book News Annotation:
The voices of politically active women between 1920 and 1960 are often underrepresented because the period is seen as relatively quiescent in terms of women's activism, sandwiched as it is between periods of vibrant feminist activity. Yet there are numerous examples of politically active women getting involved with causes of one form or another, including Indian rights, support or opposition to war, the environment, and the New Deal. This volume presents some 45 examples of women's oratory from the period, including speeches from Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger, Dorothy Day, Clare Boothe Luce, Rachel Carson, and other notable women. Brief introductory essays precede each speech. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Until recently, scholars assumed that women "stopped speaking" after they won the vote in 1920 and did not reenter political life until the second wave of feminism began in the 1960s. Nothing could be further from the truth. While national attention did dissipate after 1920, women did not retreat from political and civic life. Rather, after winning the vote, women's public activism shifted from a single-issue agenda to the myriad social problems and public issues that faced the nation. As such, women began to take their place in the public square as political actors in their own right rather than strictly campaigning for a "women's issue."
Demonstrates the public activism of women between gaining the right to vote and second waves of feminism in the 1960s.
About the Author
MARGARET A. LOWE is Assistant Professor of History at Bridgewater State College.
Table of Contents
What Next? 1920-1931
Jane Addams "Address at 'Portrait Monument' Dedication"
Mary Church Terrell "The Black Mammy Monument"
Mary Church Terrell "Talk to Young Men of Howard University" March 20, 1925
Mrs. John P. Gooding "The Conservation Department's Forestry Program"
Adelaide Steele Baylor "Home Economics Education"
Mrs. E. O. Leatherwood "Developing Better Understanding and Friendship between the Pan-Americans"
Mrs. W. R. Alvord "Report of the Department of American Citizenship" (1926)
Florence Ellinwood Allen "Talk on the Outlawry of War"
Ruth Muskrat Bronson "Address on the North American Indian"
Nannie Helen Burroughs "What the Negro Wants Politically"
Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa, Red Bird) "Speech Before the Indian Rights Association"
Elizabeth Manroe Sippel "Woman's Importance as an Investor" (radio)
Florence Jaffray Harriman "Ponds Radio"
Whose New Deal? 1932-1941
Ruth Morgan "Campaign Issues Challenging Political Parties, 'Challenge of the Woman Voter'"
Ella Reeve Bloor "Speech to Milk Shed Conference"
Blanche Ames Ames "Birth Control"
Francis Perkins "Social Security Act"
Anna Kelton Wiley "Philadelphia Branch of the National Woman's Party"
Eleanor Roosevelt "What Libraries Mean to the Nation"
Margaret Sanger "Woman and the Future"
Mary McLeod Bethune "Clarifying our Vision With the Facts."
Aimee Semple McPherson "This Is My Task" (radio Sermon)
General Federation of Women's Clubs--Debate on ERA
Luisa Moreno "Caravans of Sorrow"
Speaking of War! 1940-1945
Eleanor Roosevelt "Speech to the Democratic Convention"
Dorothy Thompson "The Great Democracy of the Free"
Hattie Caraway "The Lend-Lease Bill" (radio)
Dorothy Day "Address to the Liberal-Socialist Alliance in New York City"
Clare Boothe Luce "Speech to the Bridgeport Women's Committee of the American Institute of Banking"
Mary Anderson "Women in Industry" (two radio speeches)
Ella Reeve Bloor "Women's Role in Winning the War" (radio)
Mary Beard "Speech to Nurses" (radio)
Florence Jaffray Harriman "Women and War" (1941)
Florence Jaffray Harriman "American Soviet Friendship"
Is That All There Is? 1945-1960
Helen Gahagan Douglas "My Democratic Credo"
Mary Church Terrell "Testimony Before the House Judiciary Committee on the Equal Rights Amendment"
Emily Greene Balch "Toward Human Unity or Beyond Nationalism" (second part)
Margaret Chase Smith "Address to Business and Professional Women"
Maida Springer Kemp "Talk by Maida Springer"
Dorothy Kenyon "Speech before Tydings Committee"
Margaret M. Henderson "Women Share Service for Freedom"
Justine Wise Polier "Freedom Not Fear"
Katie Loucheim "Standard Stump Speech"
Dorothy Shaver "Address before the Philadelphia Fashion Group"
Fannia Cohn "Talk at the ILGWU Convention"
Rachel Carson "Acceptance of AAUW Achievement Award"
Martha Eliot "The Community and Its Children"
Pauli Murray "Being Good Neighbors"
Appendix: Speeches Delivered by Women Published in Vital Speeches of the Day, 1934-1960
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