California State University, Long Beach

Los Angeles Feminists


While some 1960s/1970s women's movements in Los Angeles were inextricably linked to ethnic or national communities and movements, many White Anglo women from different communities came together to participate in groups that, taken together, was often referred to as "the women's liberation movement." These groups ranged from chapters of a national organization like NOW - usually characterized as a liberal feminist group - to smaller radical groups of anarcha-feminists, lesbian feminists and radical feminists. In Los Angeles, many of these groups were spawned at the Crenshaw Women's Center (CWC), where NOW also participated initially. After the center closed in 1972, many of these groups operated out of the Westside Women's Center (WWC), where Sister monthly newspaper continued to be published. This series is by no means comprehensive or inclusive, but rather includes interviews with a few of the women who were key players in some of these Los Angeles feminist groups and/or institutions. Toni Carabillo was the force behind Los Angeles NOW during its infancy and later became a national leader in the organization as well. Joan Robins was one of the main forces behind the founding of the Crenshaw Women's Center, and Nancy (aka Dara) Robinson became active at the Center from the start. With Robins, Robinson began the Center Newsletter, which eventually became Sister newspaper. She was also instrumental in the formation of Lesbian Feminists. Originally active in the Lesbian Feminists at the Crenshaw Women's Center, Jeanne Cordova went on to start the monthly magazine, Lesbian Tide. Sherna Gluck, on the other hand, became active at the Westside Women's Center, where she also initiated the Feminist History Research Project. Carabillo, Gluck, Robins and Robinson were first interviewed in 1984 as part of a project initiated by Women Rising, a group to which the latter three belonged. Four years later, all of them except Robinson, were interviewed in conjunction with an Honors Thesis project of Michelle Moravec at UCLA. Cordova was also interviewed by her. In addition to these generally longer, life history interviews, this series includes both shorter interviews and other audio materials, including an interview with Lilyan Frank about her experience at the UN Conference in Mexico City; interviews with Bernadette Carmier, Consuelo Nieto, and Priscilla Oaks, taken at or shortly after the 1977 Houston IWY Conference; and a panel discussion by Los Angeles women who attended the conference. Although the audio quality of the 1983 Women's History Day speak-out organized by the Women Rising Collective is poor, it has also been incorporated into the series because it provides a glimpse of the range of activities of the Los Angeles women's movement dating back to the late 1960s/early 1970s.

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