Happy Birthday Vera Weisbord!

Happy Birthday Vera Weisbord!

Vera Weisbord, born August 19th, 1895 in Forestville, Connecticut. Living in poverty in New York Weisbord experienced hardships early on in life. Despite that she was Valedictorian at Hunger High School and went on to attend Hunter College where she win three first prizes in French competitions among colleges all across the USA and Canada.

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Weisbord was exposed to the talks of socialism when she was a patient in a tuberculosis sanitarium at a young age. In 1919, when Weisbord was 24, she was a part of the Socialist Party until the Communist Party of America was formed shortly after. She would stay strongly a part of the Communist Party’s fight for workers rights for the rest of her life. This commitment to workers rights led her to join the Workers Communist Party in 1922.

In 1926, on a trip to help with the Passaic, New Jersey textile strike, she met Albert Weisbord. Albert Weisbord was a revolutionist just like Weisbord, a bond that led to their marriage. In Passaic the conditions were brutal and the Weisbords fought to change that,

wages were lower than the poverty level; women earned 80% of what men were paid even while working 10 hours a day; sanitary conditions were poor, and the death rate for young children was 52% higher than in the rest of the state. 

Sadly conditions were like this for workers beyond just Passaic, New Jersey. In the following years Weisbord used what she learned in the hard battle of Passaic to help organize and fight for workers rights in other strikes. In 1929, 1800 mill workers left their jobs in protest of unruly conditions. They were fighting for  a raise in their weekly wage, the formation of a union and a 40 hour workweek. The strike erupted, causing riots, marches, picket lines. National Guard troops were called in to break up the violence. Eventually the rioting led to the death of a police chief. Along with 15 other, Weisbord was charged with his murder. A mistrial was declared and the workers received violent intimidation following the events. Ultimately, many of their demands were not met at the time but the American union movement was fortified.

In 1931, Weisbord and her husband formed, “The Communist League of Struggle”, and began publishing a journal, Class Struggle, soon after. Weisbord used the journal to write on a variety of topics; feminism, revolution, labor, and women and war. Vera was deeply rooted to the idea of social change writing that in order to commit themselves to the struggle they were, “living on the fringes of society, never integrated into it, never having more than a toehold.” You can view all issues of Class Struggle online at the Albert & Vera Weisbord Archives.

Vera worked against segregation with the Congress of Racial Equality in the 1940s, which grew into a deep involvement with the Civil Rights Movement in the following decades.  She was critical of the marginalization of women in the radical movement when she wrote, “in general the situation of women in the [Communist] Party – and of wives in particular – was an ignominious one.”  She was of the opinion that women’s problems went beyond the role of worker and had to be seen as part of the larger class struggle. – Jewish Women’s Archive

Weisbord was active until the very end. In the 1950s, Weisbord was suffering from health conditions that averted her work in politics. However, this gave her an opportunity to pursue a personal desire; painting. After taking art classes she produced over 400 paintings in the rest of her years. In 1977, Weisbord published her autobiography, A Radical Life. In 1987, after a life full of a passion for change Weisbord passed, but she left behind a legacy of courage and compassion for people who did not have the power to fight for themselves. A lesson that is always important to remember.

Happy Birthday Vera Weisbord!

 

Sources:

http://www.weisbord.org/

http://jwa.org/thisweek/aug/19/1895/this-week-in-history-birth-of-vera-weisbord-radical

Happy Birthday Miriam Underhill!

Happy Birthday Miriam Underhill!

Born July 22, 1898, in Forest Glen, Maryland, Miriam Underhill was a force to be reckoned with from the beginning. At age 16, she visited the Alps for the first time on a family vacation, where she would complete an introductory climb near Chamonix. Despite her thirst for climbing she went to Bryn Mawr College to complete bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics. Underhill continued straight on to complete a master’s in psychology from Bryn Mawr College in 1921. All the while she visited the Alps and other mountains during her summers off from school and stayed an active member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. The only thing holding back Underhill was the fact that she was a woman.

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Happy Birthday Gwendolyn Brooks!

Happy Birthday Gwendolyn Brooks!

On June 7th, 1917 Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas. Shortly after Brooks was born her family moved to Chicago, where she would live for the rest of her life. Her parents were very influential in her love of the arts and ambitious nature. Her mother was teacher and classically trained pianist and her father was a janitor who would go on to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor.

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7 Things To Do If You’re Worried About Transgender Laws Increasing Sexual Assault

This post was originally posted on The Good Men Project, check it out here!

North Carolina has been making headlines lately as the newest example of blatant and legal discrimination, this time against transgender people. A new law, detailed here, will ban, “transgender people from using public bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, and bans cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances protecting LGBT people”. This can only be added to the long list of ways in which transgender people have been, and continue to be, treated as less than.

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Happy Birthday Elizabeth Seaman!

Happy Birthday Elizabeth Seaman!

On May 5th, 1864, Elizabeth Seaman was born to Mary Jane and Michael Cochran. Her father, a wealthy judge and landowner, tragically died when Mary Jane was six years old. His death created financial hardship for the large family that had a total of 15 children from Michael’s previous marriage and marriage to Elizabeth’s mother.

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The Good, The Bad, And The Bloody – My First Week With the Diva Cup

Aww periods. The beautiful monthly moment that is a mix of emotions. First there’s excitement knowing you successfully avoided pregnancy another month in a row, but for me the excitement quickly fades as I begin to worry that the pain I am experiencing can only be explained by the fact that my uterus is slowly falling out of my body.

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Happy Birthday May Edward Chinn!

Happy Birthday May Edward Chinn!

On April 15, 1896 May Edward Chinn was born to William Lafayette Chinn, an escaped slave, and Lulu Ann Evans, a Native American from the Chickahominy Indian Reservation.

Chinn was sent to boarding school at a young ago but soon would have to return after she became ill with osteomyelitis of the jaw, an infectious inflammatory bone disease. She would have to spend time with her mother who worked as a live-in domestic worker for the Tiffany family in New York City.

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