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Austin Women Activists Oral History Project Records

In fall 2017, undergraduate students in Dr. Laurie Green's women's history seminar at the University of Texas at Austin conducted oral histories with women who had participated in campus and/or community activism during the 1960s and 1970s. The project reflected a collaborative process that included the History Department, the Briscoe Center for American History, and a network of women who actively supported the project by suggesting and contacting potential interviewees.

During the fall 2017 semester, 18 students conducted 21 oral histories, which now form the basis of this collection. In spring 2019, a new group of Green's students added to the collection, this time teaming up in pairs to conduct oral histories with eight UT alumnae who had also been at the heart of campus activism in the 1960s and 1970s. Following guidelines provided by Briscoe Center staff, the interviewers produced high quality sound recordings and generated descriptive metadata. Funding from UT's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts mad possible to provide professional transcriptions, now linked to the recordings. Green expects the collection to expand—not only in terms of the amount of interviews, but in their scope as an increasingly diverse group of women activists enriches the collection with their memories and insights.

"The Austin Women Activists Oral History Collection provides more than simply a group of local 'voices' that confirm historical narratives about young women's activism in the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s," said Green. "Rather, these oral histories with white, Mexican American, and African American women contain content that in many ways challenges or complicates existing historical understandings of the era. By centering on UT, which had a larger student movement than almost any other campus in the nation, this collection sheds new light on women's liberation, civil rights, antiwar, New Left, Chicana/o, Black Power, lesbian and gay rights movements."

Researchers using the collection will find a wide range of issues covered, including:

  • Discussion of women's work at The Rag—a nationally-circulated underground newspaper that for over a decade combined politics and popular culture.
  • Information concerning the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision in UT student activism
  • Chicana feminism, farm worker support, and artistic production
  • Activism among African American sorority sisters concerning segregation
  • The founding of an independent women's bookstore off campus (and still in existence)
  • Information related to numerous free speech battles

Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Postwar America (Fall 2017)

Susana Alamanza oral history File 1 | Transcript
Martha Cotera oral history File 1 | Transcript
Pat Cramer oral history File 1 | File 1 | File 3 | Transcript
Pat Cuney oral history File 1 | File 2 | Transcript
Alice Embree oral History File 1 | File 2 | File 3 | Transcript
Victoria Foe oral history File 1 | Transcript
Alyce Guynn oral history File 1 | Transcript
Lori Hansel oral history File 1 | Transcript
Melissa Hield oral history File 1 | Transcript
Barbara Hines oral history File 1 | Transcript
Lynn Hudson oral history File 1 | File 2 | File 3 | File 4 | Transcript
Linda Lewis oral history File 1 | File2 | Transcript
Emma Lou Linn oral history File 1 | Transcript
Susan Post oral history File 1 | Transcript
Glenn Scott oral history File 1 | Transcript
Sharon Shelton-Colangelo oral history File 1 | File 2 | Transcript
Linda Smith oral history File 1 | Transcript
Irma Soto oral history File 1 | File 2 | File 3 | Transcript
Modesta Treviño oral history File 1 | Transcript
Cynthia Valadez oral history File 1 | File 2 | File 3 | File 4 | File 5 | Transcript

 


Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Postwar America (Spring 2019)

Glo Dean Baker Gardner oral history File 1 | Transcript
Dianne Duncan oral history File 1 | File 2 | Transcript 1 | Transcript 2
Pamiel Johnson Gaskin oral history File 1 | File 2 | File 3 | Transcript 1 | Transcript 2 | Transcript 3
Arleen Lawson oral history File 1 | Transcript
Nancy McMeans Richey oral history File 1 | File 2 | Transcript 1 | Transcript 2
Teresa Perez-Wisely oral history File 1 | Transcript
Erna R. Smith oral history File 1 | Transcript
Carylon (CT) Tyler oral history File 1 | Transcript

 


In summer 2018, Life & Letters at the College of Liberal Arts (COLA) released Fight Like a Girl: How Women's Activism Shapes History, a documentary film about the project. Produced by Rachel Griess and Allen Quigley, the film was inspired by dialogue among interviewers and interviewees at a public dinner symposium where students presented papers based on their research. Ms. Magazine also featured the documentary on its website. Not Even Past, an award-winning public history website sponsored by the UT History Department and edited by Dr. Joan Neuberger, featured the Austin Women Activists Oral History Project in March 2020 in connection with Women's History Month. The article includes "Pecha Kuchas" created by the students and presented at another public event.

In addition to the History Department, COLA, and the Briscoe Center, other units and individuals who have provided important financial, research, and advisory support include UT alumnae Alice Embree, Glenn Scott, and Linda Jann Lewis, Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas Women project director Jessica Brannon-Wranosky, Nettie L. Benson Latin American Collection head of public services Adrian (AJ) Johnson, Perry-Castañeda Library humanities librarian Gina Bastone, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement executive director of communication Leslie Blair and Community Engagement Center director Virginia Cumberbatch, Center for Women's and Gender Studies director Susan Heinzelman, Faculty Innovation Center teaching and learning design specialist Anne Braseby, the Black Alumni Network of the Texas Exes, and University of Texas Captioning and Transcription Services manager Daniel Jacobs.

 


Laurie Green

Dr. Laurie B. Green
Associate Professor, Department of History, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Laurie B. Green earned her Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Chicago in 1999 and her M.A. in History and Archival Management from New York University. Dr. Green teaches courses in twentieth-century U.S. women’s, African American, civil rights, comparative race, and urban history. She and her students are frequent visitors to the Briscoe Center’s galleries and reading room. Her current book project is tentatively titled "The Discovery of Hunger in America: The Politics of Race, Poverty, and Malnutrition, 1965–1975."