The History of Feminism, Part 1

Throughout history, women have suffered many injustices in the workplace, including unequal wages, unsafe work conditions and predatory sexual harassment from male administrators. This week on From the Vault, we’ll hear recordings to help us make sense of some of the Feminist efforts throughout history that have helped drive the changes happening in the present. We start off with a 1982 program titled Feminism in the 1800’s, featuring author Ellen DuBois (reading from a 1948 speech by Elizabeth Cady Stanton), who has written extensively about Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Mary Wollstonecraft, Frances Wright, and others. Then, transitioning to a 1998 talk titled Blues Legacies and Black Feminism, we’ll hear the venerable Angela Davis trace the trajectory of early blues artists, including Gertrude “Ma” Rainy, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday, to illustrate how Black women helped shape Feminist historical traditions through their music.

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