Please see thanks for the exhibit, below. Here is news of a wonderful new gift!
Mary B. Lindblom (now Stinson) was a California delegate to the First National Women's Conference in Houston, and beside that, a Co-Coordinator of the Riverside-Redlands-San Bernardino Chapter of NOWin 1977. She has made an amazing gift of her historic artifacts and publications, which will join the Diana Mara Henry collection at the Du Bois Library, U Mass Amherst.
Thank you Mary!
If you have a gift of memorabilia of the First National Women's Conference or other events sponsored by the
National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year, or related ephemera, please email us!
It's an honor to thank the exhibit donors: Julie P., Jennifer Hopkins, Arthur Jacobson, Barbara Livanos, David Drooker, Marina Drooker, Peggy Kokernot Kaplan, Sylvia Ortiz, Jeannette Watson Sanger, Michael Livanos, Emilie Jane Drooker, Jeff Bemiss, Elizabeth Holtzman, Thomas Lee Jones and Peter Rabinowitz. You can contribute via Artspire, the fiscal sponsorship branch of the NY Foundation for the Arts that ensures that your contribution is tax-deductible, to the new project to digitize all 1,152 photographs from Houston. Please email us.
Diana Mara Henry's intro, 11/19/12
Thanks first of all to the Honorable Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President of the Borough of Manhattan, where I spent the 27 most exciting years of my life and to Maggi Peyton, his trusted advisor, and Bella’s when I first knew her, who made the show happen; to Lucy Komisar, for providing the text for the book Women on the Move that sets it all down for history, and for advice and assistance far beyond the call; to Amy Simon, of She’s History, for providing great theatre to bring all our noble forbears alive; to the amazing staff here, Debbie, Bruce, Caesar, Edith and Mayo, for their kindness and professionalism, to the women who are here and to those who aren’t but who lent so much support and encouragement and sent messages which will remain on the website for the exhibit, entitled Womenonthemoveonline,com: Olympic skier Suzy Chaffee, Professor Nikki Van Hightower, IWY Commissioner Rhea Mojica Hammer, Judy and ERA McCarthey….I hope they will join us at the next celebration.
Most exceptionally, I want to thank Peggy Kokernot Kaplan, the woman who represented the First National Women’s conference on the cover of Time Magazine in 1977, and her amazingly successful efforts to find the other two women the magazine should have put on the cover with her, since they carried the torch also for that last triumphant mile of the 2,600 from Seneca Falls to Houston: Michelle Cearcy and Sylvia Ortiz. The editorial prejudicewhich existed then exists today in the coverage of other stories, and I beg you to be aware as you view the photographs you are provided with by the press of all the beautiful humanity left on the cutting room floor and of the slaughter that comes from those malicious decisions.
Thanks to Peggy, we are now six new friends bonded together by those photographs that made the mark on their lives that they will tell you about: Peggy and her mother, Edith, Michelle and her Mom Patricia, and Sylvia whose mother is with us in spirit. I could have made all my remarks about what this amazing reunion feels like to us, but I want to leave a little time for all the stories that you all have to tell.
Thanks to Rita Elway Brogan, IWY Commissioner, for being with me from the first in planning this event, and from before then for years of friendship online. Thanks to her wonderfully apt suggestion, you will hear next from the participants to the Houston conference, as to what “Unfinished Business” they have identified as challenges for themselves personally and politically. Thanks to Jo Freeman for her extensive, extensive and enduring contribution to the history and photographic documentation of the Houston conference and for lending her images and links to this website.
Politically, I hope to see a stamp series honoring women leaders of the 1970’s, as depicted in my photographs of Shirley Chisolm, Bella Abzug, Liz Carpenter, Betty Friedan, and Coretta Scott King. That campaign is accessible at www.stampcampaign,com.
How to account for the unfortunate and ongoing use of our historic photographs without credit, copyright or permission. Such use is theft, and amazingly enough, the filmmaker of a film about Houston is the most recent example of a so-called professional who has repeatedly refused to acknowledge her obligation to honor another creative’s work. She’s not the only feminist to have used my photographs, Jo Freeman’s, and Bettye Lane’s without permission or credit, until I chased them down. I hope this deplorable abuse will end and that we will - I speaking for myself first - turn our attention to being respectful of one another. This may be the way our movement will achieve the success it so very much deserves and has not yet been able to.
Thanks to our videographer Katie-Rose De Candia, who came all the way from U Mass Amherst to record this special evening, and to Carol Connare who is here with her and is head of Development for the U Mass Libraries, for providing great momentum for the recent acquisition of the Diana Mara Henry 20th Century Photographer collection that now resides at the Du Bois Library archives, I hope you will make a tax-deductible contribution through the NY Foundation for the Arts and donate to Artspire, helping me pay the bills for the women who came here from around the country.
After Amy Simon entertains and challenges us with a glimpse of our beloved Bella, we will hear from Commissioners Rita Elway Brogan and Carmen Delgado Votaw, Congresswoman Liz Holtzman and Gloria Steinem to lead off our speakers, followed by our wonderful reporters and witnesses Melba Tolliver and Lucy Komisar, who will speak about her last visit with Betty Friedan, and Sylvia Ortiz, and Michelle Cearcy and her mother Patricia Cearcy who was in charge of local press outreach and worked the floor at the conference, and Peggy Kokernot Kaplan and her mother Edith Grinnell, and any others who were at Houston and would like to join. (Cristine Cronin and Tanya Melich and Jo Freeman and Alice Heyman all spoke.)
Billie Jean King's eloquent statement concludes our program.
I would like to thank the people without whom I would not have been able to spend months of planning for this night: Jeannette Watson Sanger, the angel who made it all possible, and to all those who also made generous donations which are deeply appreciated.
Billie Jean King Comments for National Women’s Conference Photo Exhibition
The National Women’s Conference in Houston was a fantastic moment for me. There was excitement, empowerment and enlightenment in the air. It was definitely one of those days that made me feel alive. The enormity of standing shoulder to shoulder with Gloria, Betty, Bella and other pioneers of the women’s movement was almost overwhelming. We knew the times were changing and we knew we were growing. Being part of that moment made me realize so many people had a hand in pushing us forward and making a better life for women and girls. I left Houston that day committed to honoring the dedication and sacrifice that had been made by so many pioneering women. I thought of those who led the nation’s first women’s rights convention in 1848, and many more women, especially women of color, whom we may never know their names, who came before us. They opened the door that brought us together in Houston in November 1977.
We are very fortunate Diana Mara Henry catalogued this piece of history through her moving and historically significant photography. Feminism and the women's movement are now in the fourth or fifth wave and we can never forget these remarkable moments, especially as they continue to influence us today. We have a voice. We learned to use it in 1977 and we're better at using it today.
As we gather to reflect back it is important for us to celebrate and it is healthy for us to remember. History is a call to action. It’s a vehicle for us to shape the future and it is the perfect reminder for us to keep moving forward. It’s why we gathered in Houston in 1977 and what brings us together today.
Billie Jean King
November 19, 2012