Emory Report

February 23, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 22

Emory hosts celebration
of 'Revolutionary Women'

The women's movement has been a "quiet" revolution-never shedding blood or firing a gun-but accomplishing much in the 150 years since a group of women activists met in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and ushered in the current era of women's rights. Women's History Month at Emory, beginning March 1, celebrates some well-known and a few now-forgotten "Revolutionary Women."

"These were very ordinary women who did extraordinary things," said Emory Women's Center Director Ali Crown. "One of these women is Faye Wattleton." Wattleton's renown coincides with another milestone this year, the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Roe vs. Wade decision. "Faye Wattleton never swayed in her defense of a woman's right to legal abortion," said Crown of the former Planned Parenthood president and current head of the Center for Gender Equality, a think tank. Wattleton was the first black person, and the first woman since birth-control pioneer and founder Margaret Sanger, to lead the 78-year-old Planned Parenthood.

Musing on the 150th anniversary of the women's movement, Wattleton invoked the words of Sojourner Truth, who attended the Seneca Falls Convention and told her fellow participants: "If women want any more rights than they've got, why don't they just take them and not be talking about it?"

"I've often thought of the power embodied in her simple admonition . . . and how relevant her instructions remain for women in their struggles today," Wattleton said. "Women's rights are incontrovertible, Sojourner Truth was telling us. They are our birthright. All we have to do is claim them." Wattleton wraps up the month's activities with a lecture and booksigning on March 30 at 7:45 p.m in Winship Ballroom.

Other notable events include a presentation and reading by Theater Studies affiliate artist Brenda Bynum on the life of Dame Ethel Smyth, a turn-of-the-century composer, writer and feminist, March 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater, and a reception and panel discussion honoring Emory's international women on March 4 at 6:30 at the Women's Center.

Dancer Celeste Miller will hold a free workshop, "Dancing from the Heart: Life Stories," at the P.E. Center on March 17 from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. and perform the solo work "Maybe She Just Wanted to Roam" on March 19 in the Carlos Museum Reception Hall. Commissioned by the American Festival Project, the dance celebrates the life of Sacajawea, the 16-year-old Shoshoni guide who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition and took her infant child along. "Until we started to write women back into history, we didn't know about women like Sacajawea," said Crown.

"Pop Culture Revolutions," a reading by author Penny Mickelbury (One Must Wait and Night Songs) is scheduled for March 19 at 7 p.m. in the Women's Center, and author Gish Jen is the centerpiece of a March 23 colloquium in the Callaway Center at 2:30 p.m. and a reading/booksigning at 8:15 in 208 White Hall.

Pearl Cleage, Atlanta playwright, poet and author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, will give the third annual Intersections of Race and Gender Lecture on March 25 at 7 p.m. in Cox Hall. Cleage's speech is titled "Speaking Bessie to Power: The World According to McMillan."

The monthlong art exhibits "Significant Events in the Lives of Emory Women" and "My Left Breast," a display of personal art from breast cancer survivors, will hang in the Women's Center and MacMillan Law Library, respectively, and landscape artist Ginger Levant's paintings will be featured at the Dobbs Center.

For more information about these and other Women's History Month events, call 404-727-2000.

-Stacey Jones

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