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Thanks to the inimitable Vinie Burrows for her thrilling performance shown in the cover photo!
Diana Mara Henry: Making Women's History Visible
An appreciation by Nancy C. Unger
Diana Mara Henry’s iconic images chronicle many of the historic moments and great men and women of late twentieth century America. By beginning Women on the Move with images from her own background, Henry provides important context for her development as a photojournalist and a feminist. As she chronicles women’s fight against social, political, and economic oppression, and for peace, equal rights, and protection of the earth, we come to understand Henry’s passion for women’s dignity and empowerment.
As a professor of women’s history, it is often difficult for me to convey to my students the dynamism of the early feminist movement in full flower. In Women on the Move, Diana Mara Henry’s striking photographs bring to life the excitement, the tension, the joy, and the drama of this inspiring period in which anything seemed possible.
No one gives us candid photographic portraits like Henry, and they’re all here: Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, and many, many more. Through Henry’s eyes, we see these women as heroic, but also deeply human. Her image of Eunice Schriver’s careworn face in a pensive moment at the 1972 Democratic convention reveals a profound beauty.
Even as Henry presents the exhilaration and hope that permeated the National Women’s Conference, held in Houston in 1977, she enriches the story by including images of women opposed to feminism or divided over its goals. The portraits of Phyllis Schlafly as well as a member of the “pursed lips” crowd, intent on keeping lesbians in the closet, are powerful reminders that even during this giant step forward, solidarity among women was by no means absolute.
Women on the Move is a passionate celebration of one woman’s vision and talent, and many women’s activism and progress. It will delight and inspire.
Nancy C. Unger is the author of Beyond Nature's Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History (Oxford University Press ) The photograph Nancy used in her book is of The Women's Pentagon Action, with puppets by Amy Trompetter.