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Cold War Progressives

Women's Interracial Organizing for Peace and Freedom


Publication Year: 2012

In recognizing the relation between gender, race, and class oppression, American women of the postwar Progressive Party made the claim that peace required not merely the absence of violence, but also the presence of social and political equality. For progressive women, peace was the essential thread that connected the various aspects of their activist agendas. This study maps the routes taken by postwar popular front women activists into peace and freedom movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Historian Jacqueline Castledine tells the story of their decades-long effort to keep their intertwined social and political causes from unraveling and to maintain the connections among peace, feminism, and racial equality._x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Women in American History


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-ix

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...


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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction: Peace, Freedom, and Abundance

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pp. 1-11

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...

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1. Gender, Politics, and the Emerging Cold War

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pp. 13-43

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...

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2. Progressive Feminisms

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pp. 44-66

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...

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3. Progressive Mothers

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pp. 67-85

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...

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4. "Battleships, Atom Bombs, and Lynch Ropes"

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pp. 86-109

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...

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5. Cold War Legacies

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pp. 110-131

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...

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6. From the Popular Front to a New Left

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pp. 132-157

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...

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pp. 159-182


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pp. 183-198


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pp. 199-209

E-ISBN-13: 9780252094439
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252037269

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Women in American History
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OCLC Number: 818735310
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Cold War Progressives

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Subject Headings

  • Feminism -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Second-wave feminism -- United States
  • Women's rights -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Women -- Political activity -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Peace movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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