Rita Mae Brown was born November 28th 1944 in Hanover Pennsylvania but grew up in Florida. She would move to New York where she earned a degree in cinematography at the New York School of Visual Arts and later Phd’s in Literature and Political Science. In the early 1960’s she became active in the Civil Rights, Gay Liberation and Feminist Movements. She became an Administrator for the National Organization for Women in the late 1960’s but left when she took exception to founder Betty Friedan’s efforts to distance NOW from Lesbian organizations.
It was at this time she focused on her first novel, the groundbreaking Rubyfruit Jungle published in 1973, that would gain notoriety because of it’s unapologetic description of lesbian sexuality in the life of it’s coming of age protagonist Molly Bolt.
In this same year of 1973 in Los Angeles a collective of women took action in response to the blatant lack of women artists represented in museums and galleries and founded The Women’s Building. They initially moved into the historic Chouinard Art Institute that vacated it’s 1921 building when it merged with the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and formed the California Institute of the Arts. The Women’s Building soon sold that property and moved into it’s final space just outside of Chinatown. On July 4th 1976 The Women’s Building presented an evening with Rita Mae Brown as she launched her second novel In Her Day.
In this speech, Rita Mae Brown salutes the efforts to form a collective and purchase and administrate the Women’s Building, talks about the relationship between Art and Politics and reads from and discusses her second novel In Her Day that attempts to bridge the gap between two generations of feminists.