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Archived Posts from this Category
Beginning in the late 1970s, a wave of feminist organizing broke on the shores of the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin. Its impact has transformed the lives of women and men in these communities and far beyond. In Making Waves: Grassroots Feminism in Duluth and Superior, historian Elizabeth Ann Bartlett chronicles the vital history of the groups and individuals who put Duluth and Superior at the forefront of pioneering and innovative feminist organizing.
We asked Beth more about her book and what made the feminist community of the Twin Ports so special.
Join us on Tuesday, October 11, at Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis as we celebrate the publication of Making Waves with Elizabeth Bartlett.
Why did you decide to write a book about the history of grassroots feminist organizations in Duluth and Superior?
In the fall of 2002, hundreds of local feminists gathered at the University of Wisconsin–Superior for “Making Women’s History Now: The State of Feminism in the Twin Ports,” a conference that brought together feminists from a variety of organizations and across generations to talk about the pressing issues facing the feminist community. In her keynote address that morning, longtime activist Tina Welsh, director of the Women’s Health Center, chronicled the early days of feminist organizing in Duluth, from the development of the first rape crisis center to the trials of establishing and sustaining an abortion clinic. In her afternoon keynote, Ellen Pence, well known for her work in the battered women’s movement, regaled the crowd with her humorous rendition of the early efforts of the battered women’s movement in Duluth to work with the criminal justice system to set up a coordinated community response to domestic violence. As Ellen began to tell her story, my friend and colleague Susana Pelayo-Woodward and I turned to each other and said, “We need to write these down!” The conference had reminded us of what we had always known—that we lived in an incredibly special and what we felt was quite a unique feminist community.
Duluth seems so remote to be such a hotbed of feminist organizing. What makes this feminist community and the organizations that developed here so special and unique?
The programs and policies developed by feminist organizations in the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin, have been groundbreaking, and the sense of connection and community is inspiring. Duluth has been the home of some of the earliest, longest-lasting, and significant grassroots feminist organizations, many of which have grown to become national and international leaders in feminist activism, serving as models of feminist practice.
Perhaps the best-known examples of this are the “Duluth Model” and the “Power and Control Wheel,” a policy for and analysis of domestic abuse used widely throughout the United States and world. The Program to Aid Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) and Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center were among the first rape crisis centers and domestic abuse shelters in the country. Mending the Sacred Hoop was the first and continues to be the largest training and technical assistance provider on domestic assault to tribes throughout Indian Country. The Women’s Health Center is one of the few freestanding abortion clinics remaining in the United States, and is housed in the Building for Women, one of only three such women-owned buildings for women in the United States. New Moon Magazine, the first feminist magazine for girls, has achieved international recognition for its work on behalf of girls.
The Northcountry Women’s Coffeehouse was the longest continuously-running women’s coffeehouse in the country. Women in Construction, which trained and employed women in the building trades, was the first of its kind in the nation. The American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) created one of the first Native-specific shelters in the country, and its urban Indian center, Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizimin, is a model for tribes around the country. This is truly a remarkable and vibrant community.
How did you go about collecting all the information for the history?
A few years after the conference, Susana and I invited our colleagues in Women’s Studies to join us in gathering these histories. Several of us collaborated in formulating the book – deciding on the organizations, interview questions, divvying up the work. We initially set out to interview key people at eighteen different feminist organizations, though this eventually narrowed to fifteen and then ten key organizations for the book. Most of us contributed by conducting interviews, though eventually I ended up doing most of the interviewing and writing the book. Overall, we interviewed about a hundred people, and several more than once. We also used materials from organizations’ archives and old news articles. This has been a fourteen-year odyssey from our decision to gather these histories at the conference that day to the publication of this book. It has been a long, but compelling, inspiring, exciting, and incredibly fun ride.
What’s the meaning of the title? Why Making Waves?
When I was trying to come up with the title for the book, I contacted all the UMD Women’s Studies alums on our Facebook page and asked them for suggestions. They were unanimous that the title had to include something about the lake – Lake Superior. Those of who live here know the immense power of the lake to inspire and renew and to connect us. Its spirit is undoubtedly at work in the feminist organizing here. So Making Waves refers to the wonder of Lake Superior. But Making Waves also connects with the way feminist history is referred to as a series of waves – with First Wave feminism happening in the 1800s, Second Wave in the 1960s-1990s, and Third and Fourth Wave representing the contemporary feminist movement. Finally, Making Waves refers to the movers and shakers in this community who joined together, spoke out, and organized to “make waves” — and created lasting and significant change.
What were some of the highlights of writing this book?
The best part of the journey has been interviewing the scores of women and men who were vital to the formation and ongoing thriving of these organizations. What an incredible privilege and honor it has been. I have been able to meet and often become friends with incredible women. They shared their stories with such grace, generosity, and openness. I could easily have spent hours listening to them. Many of the women I interviewed were friends and acquaintances, and this was a chance to learn more about them and, in many cases, to renew relationships. Even if I had not known the women I interviewed previously, these interviews usually felt like conversations between long-lost friends, and on many occasions I felt that by the end of our time, we had indeed become friends. Often, especially when sharing stories of those golden years of feminist organizing in Duluth, it was like being right back in the energy and excitement of those days. Even with people whom I had never met before, we shared a closeness and bonding in memories of that time.
I was consistently humbled by the openness and trust with which the women, many of whom I was meeting for the first time, shared their stories with me. I will always be grateful for this rare privilege.
Some of the most fun interviews I conducted were interviews I did with two or more people at once. Jody Anderson and Fran Kaliher and, in a separate interview, Deb Anderson and Dianna Hunter often finished each other’s sentences in telling me tales of the early days of the Coffeehouse. There was much laughter and good humor. The same was true when I met Marvella Davis and Babette Sandman as they shared their stories of the Women’s Action Group over coffee at Perkins. The way they lit up as they shared their memories of the Women’s Action Group and their evident love and affection for each other and for all the women in the group is one of my fondest moments. The way Patti Larsen and Janis Greene spoke together about Dabinoo’Igan inspired me with their deep commitment to their work, the women, and each other. I was invited to meet with the group of five feminist therapists who had had such an influence on the feminist community in Duluth, and who had continued to gather in their feminist support group once or twice a year for the past thirty-plus years. Their reflections together were tender and wise.
The most fun interview was my group interview with nine women who had worked for CAP [Community Action Program] weatherization. Many of them had not seen each other in years, and what fun it was to witness their reunion. Their fondness for each other was evident as they shared their stories. They clearly had empowered each other in significant ways during those years with CAP weatherization. They hugged and laughed and bounced their stories back and forth. They all had their stories of life-threatening times on ladders that they now recalled with humor. They had created a feminist solidarity when working together that had carried them through their lives.
It was also fascinating to pore over old documents, memos, letters, newsletters, meeting minutes, and newspaper articles. I am so grateful for those who took the time to collect these over the years. I could easily have spent hundreds more hours digging deeply into the treasures in archived material. It reminded me of my first archival work as a young graduate student thirty-five years earlier. My journey seeking out the histories of feminism has come full circle, from my early adventures combing through nineteenth-century archives of some of the earliest feminist thinkers and activists in the United States to those of the present day.
Doing this work has connected me to this community in a whole new way. I am honored to be their storyteller. I love this community. They have enriched my life in countless ways. It is a great honor, privilege, and joy to share their story with the world.
What is your own place in this story?
I moved to Duluth in 1980 at an amazing time, just when so many of these organizations were beginning and feminist energy here was so high. My first couple of years in Duluth were everything I had dreamed of. I trained to be a consciousness-raising facilitator with NOW and led CR groups with Joyce Benson. I was part of the early years of the creation of the displaced homemaker program, Project SOAR, and the political organizing of the Greater Minnesota Women’s Alliance. All the while, I was working with the group developing the Women’s Studies minor, and taught the first Introduction to Women’s Studies class at UMD. I was marching, organizing, researching, teaching – living and breathing feminism. It was a heady time – full of excitement and energy and enthusiasm. Duluth was coming into its feminist awareness and activism at the same time I was. It was the perfect place to be as a budding feminist. The Northcountry Women’s Coffeehouse, which opened in 1981, provided my deepest connections with women’s culture and community in Duluth. I’ve made some of my best friendships, and met the women with whom I’ve been making music in our group, Wild by Nature, for thirty-five years. The women’s music scene was the lifeblood of the feminist community here, and I was fortunate to be in the heart of it. I have also had the great privilege of teaching Women’s Studies students for over thirty-five years. The feminist community in Duluth has been my heart and home for all of my time in Duluth.
Mark Seeley’s Minnesota Weather Almanac, Second Edition, takes into account the state’s new thirty-year normals (1981-2010), presenting a breadth of scientific facts and fascinating stories.
In recognition of summer storm season, here are a few excerpts from the book explaining weather jargon that will have you talking like a weather expert.
The Heat Index, also known as the Comfort or Temperature-Humidity Index, evaluates the combined effects of temperature and humidity on the body’s ability to cool itself. According to the Heat Index, an air temperature of 85°F with a relative humidity of 60 percent feels the same as a temperature of 90°F with a humidity of 30 percent. For nighttime combined values of 75°F or above and daytime values of 105°F or more expected for 48 hours or longer, the National Weather Service usually issues an excessive heat advisory to warn about health risks, including fatigue, heat cramps, sunstroke, or heat exhaustion.
The dog days of summer are usually associated with the greatest heat of the year, characterized by thunderstorms and high dew points. The phrase’s origin is both ancient and astrological: the Greeks and Romans observed that one of the brightest stars, Sirius the Dog Star—located in the constellation Canis Major, Latin for “greater dog”—rose in conjunction with the sun during the six weeks of midsummer. The usual hot and sultry weather, which depleted people’s energy and wilted vegetation, was attributed to the evil effects of Sirius. In the United States, the dog days occur between mid-July and early September; in western Europe they run from July 3 to August 11.
Doppler radar is a type of weather surveillance that takes advantage of the Doppler effect. Based on the frequency change between outgoing and reflected radar signals, it determines the velocity of atmospheric targets moving directly toward or away from the unit. Doppler radar allows meteorologists to interpret wind speeds accompanying thunderstorms and to view rotating winds associated with funnel clouds.
The term heat lightning is derived from a mistaken belief that lightning is produced by an excessively heated atmosphere, based on observations of lightning under otherwise clear summer skies. What is viewed as heat lightning is actually a reflection of distant lightning flashes off the horizon. All lightning technically produces heat: a single stroke can warm the surrounding air to more than 50,000°F. The air’s rapid expansion causes sound waves, which are later heard as thunder. Sound travels approximately a mile every five seconds: to gauge the distance of the lightning flashes, count the number of seconds that pass between the flash and the resulting thunder, assuming about one-fifth mile for every second. Thus a 15-second interval between observed lightning and the sound of thunder indicates that the flash occurred about three miles away. Lightning strokes from more than ten miles away are rarely heard as thunder.
Four basic thunderstorm types
Thunderstorms occur in a variety of forms.
An isolated cumulonimbus or anvil-shaped cloud, known as a single-cell storm, is usually a convective cloud containing one updraft and one downdraft segment. Single-cell storms may produce some heavy rain, hail, or even a weak tornado, but they are usually short lived, lasting 30 or fewer minutes.
In a multicell cluster, a group of convective clouds moves together as a single unit, bringing multiple updraft and downdraft segments, highly variable rates of rainfall, and moderate hail. These systems may last for hours and can produce flash flooding or weak tornadoes.
A squall line is a row of convective clouds that share a common gust front along the leading edge, sometimes visible as a wall cloud. They can move at rapid speeds and produce heavy rainfall, moderate hail, and even tornadoes, occasionally leading to flash flooding.
A supercell, the most damaging type of thunderstorm, is a massive convective system of clouds that rotate as one unit, contain embedded strong updrafts and downdrafts, and produce large hail, frequent lightning, flooding, and moderate to severe tornadoes. Such storms may last for hours and travel across multiple states.
Explore the seamy side of Minnesota with these popular true crime titles from the Minnesota Historical Society Press, on sale for $3.99 through the month of June from your favorite e-book vendor.
by William Swanson
On a July afternoon in 1972, two masked men waving guns abducted forty-nine-year-old Virginia Piper from the garden of her lakeside home in Orono, Minnesota.
Drawing on closely held government documents and exclusive interviews with family members, investigators, suspects, lawyers, and others intimately connected to the case, William Swanson provides the first comprehensive account of the sensational Piper kidnapping.
Sale price $3.99
by Tim Mahoney
Among the most dangerous criminals of the public enemies era was a man who has long hidden in history’s shadows: Tom Brown. In the early 1930s, while he was police chief of St. Paul, Minnesota, Brown became a secret partner of the infamous Barker gang. He profited from their violent crimes, he protected the gang from raids by the nascent FBI—and while he did all this, the gangsters gunned down cops and citizens in his hometown.
Sale price: $3.99
by Neal Karlen
A treasury of family secrets exposes the seamy underbelly of Minneapolis—gangsters, gambling, brothels, and the social life of organized crime.
Sale price $3.99
by Bruce Rubenstein
When a small midwestern gallery is burgled, artworks by an American icon disappear into the international market for stolen art, but the gallery’s owners refuse to give up the search.
Sale price: $3.99
by William Swanson
A white police officer is assassinated in a troubled St. Paul neighborhood. Thirty-six year later, two African American grandfathers are convicted in controversial trials that force a city to relive a contentious past.
Sale price: $3.99
by William Swanson
A haunting re-creation of the brutal death of an American housewife, the conviction of her husband, and the family trial at which their children determined for themselves how their father should be charged.
Sale price: $3.99
by Steven J. Harper
A forthright teamster faces off with Jimmy Hoffa in this true saga of corruption, betrayal, intrigue, and courage.
Sale price: $3.99
Sue Doeden is as busy as a bee with a wide variety of culinary-related endeavors. She teaches cooking classes, writes food stories, develops recipes for food companies, conducts workplace wellness education, appears on a weekly television news segment called Good Food, Good Life, 365, and is a hobbyist beekeeper. Her new book, Homemade with Honey—the sixth book in the Northern Plate series, celebrating the bounty of the Upper Midwest—brings together all these activities.
In today’s post, Sue describes how she got her start in beekeeping.
“A beekeeper friend of mine invited me to watch as he introduced a wooden box of at least 30,000 bees and one queen to their new home–a hive positioned on a grassy space near basswood trees across the road from his house. Wearing a baggy white jumpsuit and a headpiece with a screen covering my face for protection, I cautiously looked on as the beekeeper expertly went through the annual spring process of getting a buzzing batch of bees into the hive.
“Before I headed home that evening, I dipped my finger into a frame of thick, sticky golden honey. Sweet and delicate, the natural substance produced by honey bees melted on my tongue. It was that one ambrosial taste of local honey that began my obsession with what honey lovers refer to as ‘liquid gold.’
“A couple of years after that first introduction to beekeeping, I had my own hives–and my own honey.”
Sue shares her tips on keeping bees happy and healthy as well as 75 recipes to entice all cooks, from beginners through the well seasoned, to spend time in their kitchen with honey. Recipes in the book range from savory starters to dreamy desserts and from quick and easy ways to enjoy honey to impressive gourmet delights. Check out her recipe for a salsa that’s excellent with grilled chicken or beef.
Honey Balsamic Black Bean and Mango Salsa
My younger son brought this salsa recipe home from college. Over the years, I’ve added some ingredients and taken away others to create a salsa that has just the right amount of heat, fresh crunch, color, and balance of sweet and tart. And you can do the same. Feel free to customize the salsa to suit your own taste buds. Just don’t leave out the honey.
Makes 3 1/2–4 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 chubby clove garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeño, minced (you decide whether or not to remove the seeds)
1 firm, ripe mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup finely chopped orange bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1–2 plum tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, honey, and garlic. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine black beans, jalapeño, mango, orange and yellow peppers, red onion, and tomatoes. Stir in oil and vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. At serving time, add avocado. Sprinkle with cilantro or offer cilantro on the side. Serve with tortilla chips.
The January 2015 issue of CHOICE Magazine features its annual list of Outstanding Academic Titles, chosen by the editors for their excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as important treatment of their subject. We are honored to have Curiosity’s Cats: Writers on Research edited by Bruce Joshua Miller as one of this year’s selections.
“In bringing together 13 riveting, informative essays on the thrills, pitfalls, and minutiae of documentary research, Miller (a writer and independent publishing industry representative) illuminates how writers convey the truth about the life of their subjects. Contributors explain how they succeeded (or failed) in various writing projects throughout their careers, working in traditions spanning historical and ethnographic research, biography, journalism, fiction, and film. . . . A well-crafted, well-conceived volume, deserving an index. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” CHOICE (link to the full review here)
Bruce J. Miller and Ned Stuckey-French will be signing copies of Curiosity’s Cats at the AWP Annual Conference in Minneapolis on Thursday, April 9, 2015, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Minnesota Historical Society Press booth. If you are attending, please stop by!
On a July afternoon in 1972, two masked men waving guns abducted forty-nine-year-old Virginia Piper from the garden of her lakeside home in Orono, Minnesota. After her husband, a prominent investment banker, paid a $1 million ransom, an anonymous caller directed the FBI to a thickly wooded section of a northern Minnesota state park. There, two days after her nightmare began, Ginny Piper––chained to a tree, filthy and exhausted, but physically unharmed––awaited her rescuers.
Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper by William Swanson recounts the inside story of the shocking Piper kidnapping: from the abduction and recovery, through the grueling investigation and trials, and into the Pipers’ haunted final years.
Below is a clip from the press conference with Virginia Piper on July 30, 1972, just a day after her rescue. However, this is only the beginning of the story. As Swanson writes:
“But whatever the intentions of their preemptive statements, the Pipers’ nightmare is not over, nor does the story belong to them. The case is now a million-dollar whodunit driven by the US Attorney in Minneapolis and FBI personnel here and in Washington. The black-and-white patrol cars stationed at the bottom of their driveway will be gone in a few days, when the family is no longer deemed in imminent danger, but the lives of the Pipers and many of their friends, neighbors, and associates, not to mention innumerable strangers who may or, more likely, may not have had anything to do with the case, will be changed forever.”
For author events and more information, please click on the title’s hyperlink, above.
Farmers market season is here! Looking for inspiration on how to use fresh, seasonal produce? Check out these titles in our Northern Plate series—each celebrates the bounty of the Upper Midwest by focusing on a single ingredient, exploring its historical uses as well as culinary applications across a range of dishes.
Rhubarb Renaissance by Kim Ode
Modern Maple by Teresa Marrone
Sweet Corn Spectacular by Marie Porter
Smitten with Squash by Amanda Paa
Homemade with Honey by Sue Doeden (available May 2015)
Minnesota Historical Society Press Fall 2013 Titles
Sweet Corn Spectacular (out now!)
Making Marriage: Husbands, Wives, and the American State in Dakota and Ojibwe Country (August 2013)
Catherine J. Denial
Powwow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life (September 2013)
Marcie R. Rendon with photographs by Cheryl Walsh Bellville
Children’s Book Ages 8-12
Leaving Rollingstone: A Memoir (September 2013)
Secret Partners: Big Tom Brown and the Barker Gang (September 2013)
Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition (October 2013)
Rae Katherine Eighmey
Minnesota in the ’70s (October 2013)
Dave Kenney and Thomas Saylor
The Creator’s Game: A Story of Baaga’adowe/Lacrosse (November 2013)
Art Coulson with illustrations by Robert DesJarlait
Children’s Book Ages 8-12
Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest (November 2013)
Heid E. Erdrich
Big Little Mother (November 2013)
Kevin Kling with illustrations by Chris Monroe
Children’s Book Ages 3-7
On Stage with Kevin Kling (November 2013)
You know it’s summer in the Twin Cities when there is at least one street festival somewhere in town. Head on over to Lake Street between Blaisdell and Pleasant in Minneapolis to experience the Somali Independence Day Festival this Sunday, June 30, from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Here is Ahmed Ismail Yusuf, author of Somalis in Minnesota, on Somali Independence Day:
“Other than the religious holidays, Somalis gather for one major event: Somali Independence Day. The date celebrates Somalia’s independence from colonial British and Italian rule and the founding of the Republic of Somalia in 1960. Though Djibouti commemorates the event on May 27, northern Somalia on June 26, and southern Somalia on July 1, in Minnesota Somalis from Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and beyond join others from the mainland to celebrate on the weekends between June 20 and July 1. They gather together, dance, and compete in soccer games to honor the memory of their motherland and her independence.
“On June 26, 1960, the first Somali flag was hoisted to float and flap in the air. Then on July 1, it was raised in the south of Somalia, and Somalis everywhere sang, danced, and composed ceremonial poems for the occasion.”