This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page.


  February 17, 2004

Month-Long Series Of Events
Devoted To Women's History

Women's "Herstory" Month this March will look at the first African-Amer ican millionaire; how feminism and activism have changed throughout the generations; and how young women can embrace both "girlie culture" and political activism.

The month will also include on March 16 an International Women's Day celebration of women's contributions to the arts worldwide.

The month's theme, "Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility," highlights women's history, which has often been left out of mainstream history texts and courses.

"Women's history month provides us with a chance to focus on some of the women who otherwise might be forgotten, and to call attention to cultural and social phenomena that warrant discussion," says Kathleen Holgerson, director of the Women's Center, which is one of the sponsors of the month's events at UConn. She adds that the programming attempts to ensure that the diverse voices and experiences of women are represented, in particular women of color and women from the international community."

The opening speaker for the month will be A'Lelia Bundles, author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker. Bundles will speak at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 1, in Konover Auditorium. A book signing will follow her talk.

The book, which has been a best seller, tells the story of how Walker, the child of former slaves, was widowed and worked as a washerwoman to support herself and her daughter before making a fortune selling hair products. Her marketing genius led to a factory employing 3,000 people and a door-to-door sales force of nearly 20,000 women. Before her death in 1919, she had become a philanthropist and a political activist who supported the National Association of Colored People (NAACP), the Tuskegee Institute, the preservation of the Frederick Douglass home, and other causes.

Bundles, Walker's great-great-granddaughter, is an Emmy Award-winning network television producer and former ABC News Washington deputy bureau chief. Her book, based on special access to Walker's personal letters and business records, portrays Walker's family life and business secrets, as well as her relationships with other early 20th-century giants such as Booker T. Washington, W.E. DuBois, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

"As Madam Walker's biographer, and as a journalist who loves a well-told tale, I have always believed that her story deserved a large loom on which to weave the dimensions of her unusual life with the broad themes and major events of American history," says Bundles, director of talent development for ABC News in Washington and New York.

Another highlight of the month is a day-long International Women's Day celebration on March 16. Events will include a faculty panel at noon in the Puerto Rican Latin American Cultural Center, and an evening of exhibits, food, and performances at the African American Cultural Center. The day is co-sponsored by the African American, Asian American, and Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Centers, the Rainbow Center, and the Student Union Board of Governors.

Other activities include:

  • Evelyn Simien, assistant professor of political science, will discuss "The Significance of Black Feminism." Tuesday, March 2, 7 p.m., African American Cultural Center Lounge.

  • The film One Woman, One Vote will be shown. The film chronicles the 70-year battle for women's suffrage. A discussion will follow the film. Thursday, March 18, 6 p.m., Women's Center Lounge.

  • A panel of Connecticut women from different generations will talk about what they think it means to be an activist, and how future generations of women can get involved. Monday, March 22, 6 p.m., Asian American Cultural Center.

  • Sonia Sanchez, a professor, poet, and author, will speak. Winner of the Langston Hughes Poetry Award in 1999 and the Otto Awards for 2001, Sanchez is a contributing editor to Black Scholar and the Journal of African Studies, and her poetry has appeared in the movie Love Jones. Her talk is sponsored by the African American Cultural Center and co-sponsored by the Women's Center. Wednesday, March 24, 4:30 p.m., Konover Auditorium.

  • Yo Soy Latina! the hit stage place written by Linda Nieves-Powell, will be performed. The six Latina characters of Yo Soy Latina! feel they could never measure up to the finely airbrushed images the media offers them. The performance is co-sponsored by the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center and will take place on Friday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in E.O. Smith High School Auditorium.

  • Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, editors of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, will discuss a new generation of feminism - Third Wave feminism. Baumgardner and Richards believe women can embrace both "girlie culture" and political activism. Monday, March 29, 3 p.m. Konover Auditorium.

Issue Index