Cold War Progressives
Women's Interracial Organizing for Peace and Freedom
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Series: Women in American History
Title Page, Copyright
I began work on Cold War Progressives before jets hit the World Trade Center Towers, Sarah Palin claimed that Alaskans could see Russia from their homes, and the United States elected its first African American president. The political and cultural intersections of national security, gender, and race, in other words, looked far different...
Introduction: Peace, Freedom, and Abundance
In July 1972, the first regular issue of Ms. magazine premiered with a cover boldly announcing its commitment to the social and political empowerment of women. Readers passing newsstands recognized comic book heroine Wonder Woman striding toward them, as scenes of a war-torn Asian battlefield sat to the right of her feet and a placid...
1. Gender, Politics, and the Emerging Cold War
In mid-July 1948, members of the Progressive Party met at their founding convention in Philadelphia to write a blueprint for postwar America. The delegates had already chosen their presidential contender; the party was formed to run Henry Wallace as a “peace candidate.” In Philadelphia they turned their attention to introducing voters...
2. Progressive Feminisms
As Progressive women headed out on the campaign trail in 1948, they faced a number of challenges. Not only did Women for Wallace activists have to contend with Cold War politics, including debates about the role of Communists in the Progressive Party, they also had to negotiate the competing rationales members claimed for women’s political...
3. Progressive Mothers
At the core of U.S. leftist women’s postwar activism stood a host of social justice causes, including civil rights and women’s equality, but central to it was peace. Response to their attempts to push the boundaries of good mothering to include such endeavors as political organizing, especially peace activism, that took them out of the home and...
4. "Battleships, Atom Bombs, and Lynch Ropes"
The founding of the Progressive Party in 1948 was a significant milestone in the lives of Eslanda Goode Robeson, Shirley Graham (Du Bois), and Charlotta Bass, helping to mark their evolution from social activists to public intellectuals. Their success in uniting race and gender emancipation ideologies and linking them to world peace with the...
5. Cold War Legacies
Through the organization’s eight years of existence, African American women remained active at both the highest levels of the Progressive Party and its base, where interracial grassroots networks attempted to bring the lofty ideals of national figures like Eslanda Goode Robeson, Shirley Graham Du Bois, and Charlotta Bass to life. The American...
6. From the Popular Front to a New Left
As the United States entered the 1960s, the nation’s political landscape appeared far different than at the dawn of the previous decade. On the home front, the Senate’s 1954 censure of Joseph McCarthy began a rapid political decline that resulted in his death from alcoholism three years later, representing to most Americans a symbolic...