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Pioneering feminist activists to speak at West campus

March 13, 2013

Ti-Grace Atkinson and Kathie Sarachild, notable early radical feminist activists and founders of the radical feminist movement, will visit ASU’s West campus on March 26 and 27 for three keynote lectures presented in association with Women’s History Month.

All three events on the campus at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road are free and open to the public; visitor parking costs $2 per hour. The series is presented by the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, the core college on the West campus.

Sarachild will deliver an address titled “Feminist Revolution: Toward a Science of Women’s Freedom” at noon, March 26, in the University Center Building, room 241. Sarachild helped to form the radical feminist group Redstockings in the late 1960s and is currently the director of the Redstockings Women’s Liberation Archive for Action. She volunteered with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement in 1964 and 1965 and spent 13 days in a Mississippi jail.

Guided by a lifetime of fighting against inequalities, Sarachild also helped to craft slogans like “Sisterhood is Powerful” and developed “consciousness-raising” groups in the women’s liberation movement. She had a prominent role in the 1968 Miss America pageants and, in 1969, led a disruption – the first “Speak Out” of the women’s liberation movement – of a New York State abortion reform hearing where legislators were listening to an “expert” panel consisting of 12 men and a nun.  

Ti-Grace Atkinson will address “The Autonomous Woman: Sex, Love, and Feminism” at noon, March 27, in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Verde Dining Pavilion, one of three new buildings that recently opened on the West campus. Atkinson, a former president of the National Organization for Women and founder of The Feminists, a radical feminist group active from 1968 to 1973, has had a lifetime of feminist activism and engagement with radical social change. Publishing numerous pamphlets and her book, “Amazon Odyssey” (1974), Atkinson also made history by arguing publicly against the Catholic Church (and being physically assaulted during a speech at Catholic University for discussing the Virgin Mary’s sexuality) and crusading against marriage as a form of spiritual and physical oppression.

Atkinson protested anti-woman policies of the Ladies Home Journal, battled the New York City marriage bureau, fought to reconfigure and define abortion politics, publicly defended Valerie Solanas after the Andy Warhol shooting, and was recognized by the New York Times as feminism’s “haute thinker.” At the center of politics, art, and radical politics of late 1960s New York City, Atkinson sustained personal contact with a multitude of her famous contemporaries, including Florynce Kennedy, Simone de Beauvoir, Alice Paul, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Valerie Solanas, Robin Morgan, Andrew Dworkin, Shulamith Firestone, Kate Millett, Roxanne Dunbar, Ellen Willis, Phyllis Chesler, Diane Arbus, Anne Koedt, and Edie Sedgwick.

Atkinson and Sarachild will then join together for a panel discussion at 4 p.m., March 27, with Breanne Fahs, associate professor of women and gender studies in New College. The discussion will be held in the La Sala Ballroom of the University Center Building.

“This event offers a rare opportunity to hear these two feminist pioneers engage in a public conversation and debate about a host of issues including contemporary feminist politics, histories of activism, the erasure of the radical Left from today’s political landscape, issues that affect women’s lives today, and the ultimate impact and legacy of their 1960s radical provocations,” Fahs said. “We are extremely pleased to be able to offer Valley residents the chance to interact with Ms. Atkinson and Ms. Sarachild.”

For more information, contact Breanne Fahs at (602) 543-3313 or