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Founding member of New York Radical Women, 1967

Originator of the Miss America Protest, 1968

Author of the groundbreaking paper, The Personal is Political, 1969

An editor of Redstocking's book, Feminist Revolution, 1973

Editor of the journal Meeting Ground, 1978 - 1992

 

 

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Carol Hanisch grew up on a farm in Iowa, graduated from Drake University with a degree in journalism and worked briefly at UPI, leaving that job in 1965 as a volunteer in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement where she learned the power of collective struggle by oppressed people. She was working as the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF) NYC office manager in 1967 when she was among the founding members of New York Radical Women (NYRW).

Carol initiated the idea to protest the Miss American pageant in 1968 and was one of the four women who disrupted the proceedings by hanging a women's liberation banner over the balcony. The protest was quite successful brought national attention to the new Women’s Liberation Movement. Afterwards, she penned "What Can Be Learned: A Critique of the Miss America Protest" which criticized some of the language and tactics of the protesters as "anti-woman" and discussed the dangers of the popular "do your own thing" when applied to collective action. The critique was published and circulated internationally.

In late1968 Hanisch convinced SCEF to add a project to support her at subsistence pay to organize southern women into the Women's Liberation Movement.  This led to a January 1969 move to Gainesville Florida, where she also worked with Gainesville Women's Liberation for three years. In an early 1969 memo to the SCEF staff, many of whom were highly critical of the emerging WLM, she explained "the pro-woman line" (among other things) and why consciousness raising was not therapy but a radical organizing tool for women's liberation. That memo was published in NOTES FROM THE SECOND YEAR as "The Personal is Political" and has been reprinted in anthologies and discussed around the world.

Carol was managing editor of the Redstockings book, FEMINIST REVOLUTION, which the group published in 1975. It analyzed the rise and decline of the the WLM, including Gloria Steinem's past association with the CIA. After a long struggle, this part was censored from the Random House "abridged" edition that was finally published in 1978.  Carol founded and edited the journal MEETING GROUND from 1977 through 1991. In the 1990s, she self-published a compilation of her topical writings for a local women's newspaper in a book entitled FRANKLY FEMINIST and a historical dramatic reading, "Promise & Betrayal: Voices from the Struggle for Women's Emancipation 1776-1920." The latter includes debate over the 14th and 15th amendements which badly damaged the unity between the anti-slavery and woman suffrage movements (issues echoed in the 2008 election). She has written and spoken about the WLM, often discussing leadership and the decline of the radical wing.

Carol has also organized dairy and beef farmworkers in New York; worked against racism, U.S. imperialism, and South African apartheid; and participated in local environmental struggles, one of which saved a mountain from development by the Marriott Corporation and resulted in its public ownership as an new state park. She currently works as an editor and graphic artist.

 

 

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© Copyright 2009 Carol Hanisch.

All material on this website is copyrighted by Carol Hanisch.  Downloading for personal reading or Women's Liberation organizing use is permitted.  However, publishing on other websites or any use for making a profit from the work is prohibited without permission from the author.

 

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