Someone Call the Witch Doctor!!

I am going to focus on Radical Women and WITCH.

Radical Women was a group of women that protested the selection of Miss America. This rose awareness of “women’s liberation”. They had a unique style of protesting where they would gather lingerie and beauty products/accessories to form  what they called “women’s garbage” and pile it into a Freedom Trash Can. This trash can could be looked at as a symbol of their liberation. Then some of these New York Radical Women gathered to form what was called WITCH(Women’s International terrorist Conspiracy from Hell). They say:

“WITCH lives and laughs in every woman. She is the free part of each of us, beneath the shy smiles, the acquiescence to absurd male domination, the make-up or flesh-suffocating clothes our sick society demands. There is no “joining” WITCH. If you are a woman and dare to look within yourself, you are a WITCH. You make your own rules.”

This reminds me of a reading from For the Record called “The Feminine Mystique” because they both deal with identity. The difference is that the feminine mystique was an identity that was forged over time because it eventually became customary whereas WITCH is essentially an identity you are born with, stating that “if you are a woman, you are a WITCH”. WITCH showed they were serious by involving themselves in women’s rights cases in Washington D.C. and Chicago.

I believe Zinn includes them and are equally as important because the 60’s and 70’s were decades that transitioned from objectification of women to women wanting equal rights as men. They wanted to be seen as more independent and less of just a housewife. These two groups show just that. The Radical Women saw the selection of Miss America as objectification of women. It was a way for America to control how women ought to look and the Radical Women disagreed. WITCH is an important example because it showed the unity of women, recognizing an identity they were all born with while brushing away the idea of the “feminine mystique”. They wanted to better the work environment for women where men didn’t have to be looked at as superior but rather equal.

Got Milk?

Associated Milk Producers and the Nixon Campaign

“The Associated Milk Producers began giving money to the Nixon campaign, met in the White House with Nixon and the Secretary of Agriculture, gave more money, and the secretary announced that “new analysis” made it necessary to raise milk price supports.” (Zinn)

The 1970’s is truly about the loss of faith and trust in the government and is about the idea of stagflation. This quote taken from Zinn reflects just that. Stagflation is about higher rates of inflation with less available jobs. When it comes to inflation, not just anything is inflated. From an economics standpoint I can see why the Associated Milk Producers gave money to Nixon and I see why Nixon took it. Milk is a product that leans more toward inelasticity because there aren’t really any substitutes. This means that it isn’t price sensitive for customers. Thus they inflate it. As a result “the price increases added $500 million to the profits of dairy farmers (mostly big corporations) at the expense of consumers” (Zinn). This is a perfect example of why there was a lack of trust in the government. The government knows that their aren’t as many jobs which means that not everyone will have money to spend and buy specific products. Yet they inflate prices on inelastic products like milk. Why? Because they act toward their best interests and not in the interest of the people. To make matters worse, this was never brought up in “impeachment charges and never televised in the Senate hearings- possible collusion? Thus, the people had no trust… and no milk…

We Need A Champion!

A Black Woman, Racisim in the South (1902), author: undisclosed

“It seems to me that the very weakness of the negro should cause at least a few of our great men to come to the rescue. Is it because an espousal of our cause would make any white man unpopular, or do most of our great men think that we are worthless? Are there greater things to do than to “champion the rights of human beings and to mitigate human sufferings?””(82)

A black woman from Alabama wrote about what she experienced during the turn of the century. It starts out as if she is ready to rant about all her complaints. However, she conveys her message in terms of how things were at the time and questions why a ‘champion hasn’t risen to stand up to all the mistreatment blacks faced.

The best thing a white person could’ve said about a black person was that “they admit that they know blacks in no capacity except as servants, yet they say  blacks are at their best in that single capacity”(81). Whites think that nothing good comes from being black and because of this they are mistreated. The human sufferings portion of the first quote refers to economic challenges that black individuals faced. The woman who writes this article had a hard time searching for a home to start a family because real estate was segregated between ‘white property’ and ‘colored property’. She struggled to find a healthy neighborhood to live in because all the colored property was so unhealthy, a respectable farmer would not even keep his cattle there. When she finally found a place to stay, it was a health choice in terms of shelter, but the family was made uncomfortable because of the neighborhoods unwelcoming mannerisms. From a social standpoint, “a colored woman is lower in status than the white prostitute. The Southern white woman will declare that no Negro women are virtuous, yet she placed her innocent children in their care…”(82). It is for the above examples that I brought the very first quote to our attention.

Black individuals were given this identity that was forced upon them by more powerful white people. It was embedded in their everyday lifestyle to the point that maybe they started to believe it. I say this in response to the author questioning why a champion hasn’t stepped up to protect them. I feel that there is a possibility that no champion stepped up because if black individuals started to rebel it would only hurt them not help them. Their act of defiance and rebellion would only be congruent to the identity white people forced on them and would show that these white people were right. The woman who wrote this text should in fact be the ‘champion’ she sought after because she was the one who ended up on white property which is a step toward her cause.

‘I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.’

That’s what people in the fifties had been; sick and tired. Now however, they were sick and tired of being sick and tired and weren’t going to stand for it any longer. Betty Friedan wrote her book ‘The Feminine Mystique’ in 1963 and despite the fact that I belong to a completely different generation, reading it touched something inside me the way it did with the women of those times. Just the idea of being in their situation of, as Friedan states, ‘living through their husbands and children and giving up their own dreams for all that’ is incredibly daunting for me to think of. Not only is it a terrifying prospect but an incredibly unfair one at that. However, reading this chapter of Zinn’s book made me see how women had gotten into that miserable situation in the first place. Men would require the women to work when they were off at war and as soon as they would come back, they would the push the women away and expect them to go back to the way things had always been. Not only this, but the way men talked about women to each other was appalling. According to Robert and Helen Lynd, men among themselves were likely to speak of women as ‘creatures’ that were relatively ‘purer’ and ‘morally better’ than men but as ‘relatively impractical, emotional, unstable, given to prejudice, easily hurt and largely incapable of facing facts or doing hard thinking.’ They also thought of women as ‘weak and incompetent sex play things’, of pregnant women as ‘helpless’, middle aged women as being ‘no longer beautiful’ and older women as ‘people to be ignored and put aside.’ If their fathers, husbands and sons thought about the women in their lives that way, it’s no wonder women were so frustrated and plagued by the ‘problem that has no name.’

Betty Friedan’s book helped start the fight for the civil rights of women. However, in the sixties and seventies there seemed to be a general rebellion against repression and oppression of any kind, especially against the ‘artificial, previously unquestioned way of living.’ Sex became an openly discussed topic. Married couples began having extramarital affairs in what became known as ‘open marriages.’ One of the greatest changes that took place was that homosexuals no longer concealed their sexual orientation. Gay men and lesbians now started organizing to ‘combat discrimination against them, to give themselves a sense of community and to overcome shame and isolation.’ This shows how humans in the sixties started a great wave of a radical reconstruction of sorts once again, which would continue on into the seventies.

Emergence of the Generation Gap

“As we grew, however, our comfort was penetrated by events too troubling to dismiss. First, the permeating and victimizing fact of human degradation, symbolized by the Southern struggle against racial bigotry, compelled most of us from silence to activism. Second, the enclosing fact of the Cold War, symbolized by the presence of the bomb,brouth awareness that we ourselves, and our friends, and millions of abstract “others” we know more directly because of our common peril, might die at anytime. We might deliberately ignore,or avoid, or fail to feel all other human problems, but not these two, for these were too immediate and crushing in their impact, too challenging in the demand that we as individuals take the responsibility for encounter and resolution.” (Tom Hayden 323)


The 1960s was the first time Americans saw the generation gap that we are all too common with today. This was the first time that the ambitions and principles of a generation (the Baby Boomers) greatly differed, and even challenged, those of the previous generation. Young adults were no longer striving for the same goals as previous generation. This led to a toxic “us vs. them” mentality that has caused civil unrest since. But what caused this particular generation to become so utterly dissatisfied with American society?

Many Baby Boomers were involved with the Civil Rights Movement and anti-poverty programs and became passionate about social idealism. It became their mission to fix the apparent flaws in their society that earlier generations treated lackadaisically. Initially, this idealism focused on changing the arbitrarily rigid structure and rules of universities but transformed to protesting the Vietnam War and the draft. Student groups wanting to cement their new vision formed the “New Left” political party. The “New Left” wanted social and political changes to be determined by well-educated and younger individuals, unlike the “Old Left” that put too much power in the too few hands of capitalist groups. The Port Huron Statement was written by a “new left” student group  that called for immediate action to tackle the injustices plaguing society such as racism, poverty, corruption and the government’s abuse of power (Vietnam, the draft).  For the first time, students across the country organized and vocally expressed their outrage through demonstrations. The older generation did not understand and merely saw young adults as rebels and troublemakers for rising against the previously established social order.


Betty Friedan:

The author of The Feminine Mystique, a pioneering book that was the first of its kind to address the issues white, middle-class women faced in their society. The reason for Zinn including her was just to bring in the perspective of a woman who had lived through all the  experiences a woman of her position faced. Her literary works were so popular in rallying women together to find solutions to escape the repetitive and imprisoning lives that it is featured in both of our sources, PHOA and For the Record. The main problem amongst these specific women is that their lives solely revolved around what her husband/children wanted.

“I feel as if I don’t exist.” Sometimes…. “A tired feeling … I get so angry with the children it scares me. … I feel like crying without any reason.”


An anonymous black man:

Although we do not the identity of this man, his story explains  what young black men faced at the time and the steps, regardless of how minute they were,  that were taken in an attempt to send a message saying: We want to be recognised for who we are! Even if it meant adding a year or two to his already unfair sentence for not registering for the draft during the Vietnam war, this man represented his style and personality through his clothes/hair at the court.

“That’s all of my life,” he said, looking at me with a combination of dismay and confusion. “Man, don’t you know! That’s what it’s all about! Am I free to have my style, am I free to have my hair, am I free to have my skin?”

Women and Prisoners

The 1960’s and 1970’s were a time in American history that called for reform. This was a time in our history where women were trying to step our of the socially stratified gender roles that they have been placed in and achieve something besides having a husband, a family and a home. The “American Dream” for women was no longer the idea of the house with the white picket fence and big green lawn, nor was it to live her dreams through the fulfillments of her husband, women wanted to work and to make something of themselves; women wanted liberation. But even among women, there were class differences, so the women’s liberation movement wasn’t being fought as a whole, but in parts; every class of women had their own issues that needed to be addressed. Patricia Robinson wrote a text by the name of “Poor Black Woman”, she addressed the need for social change that women, particularly poor black women were facing. She addressed many of the things that women during that time were fighting for, ” she demands the right to have birth control, like middle  class black and white women. She is aware that it takes two to oppress and that she and other poor people no longer are submitting to oppression… Through these steps… she has begun to question aggressive male domination and the class society which enforces it, capitalism.” Women like Robinson didn’t have much to lose in speaking out for change, in the society that they were in. These were women who were locked down upon because of heir color, their gender, and their economic status, but it was women like Robinson that voiced their opinions and helped bring about change.

The 60’s and 70’s weren’t only a time where you saw Women’s liberation movements taking place, there were many uprisings happening, and particularly there were rebellions within the penitentiary system. Federal and state prisons were experiencing turmoil, Zinn states that “in the sixties and early seventies…rebellions multiplied. They also took on an unprecedented political character and the ferocity of class war, coming to a climax at Attica, New York…” Using isolation prisons hoped to turn their bd guys into good guys but instead they ended up with insane or dead inmates. But the prison system wasn’t the only thing that needed reform, the sentencing of inmates had to be looked upon as well, because as Willard Gaylin found, there was an “enormous discretion given to judges in the handling out of sentences.” Willard Gaylin was a psychiatrist who spoke to a man names Hanks, he interviewed this African American male who refused to sign up for the Vietnam draft and was sentenced for five years, Gaylin says:
“How was your hair then?” I asked.
“And what were you wearing?”
“A dashiki.”
“Don’t you think that might have affected your sentence?”
“Of course.”
“Was it worth a year or two of your life?” I asked.
“That’s all of my life,” he said, looking at me with a combination of dismay and confusion. “Man, don’t you know! That’s what it’s all about! Am I free to have my style, am I free to have my hair, am I free to have my skin?”
“Of course,” I said. “You’re right.” ”

This conversation shows us that the decisions that were being made at that time were swayed by your attire, your headdress, even maybe your color. The system that sentenced you to do time in prison was faulty, and prisoners along with others, like Gaylin, wanted to publicize this problem and fix it. This brought about a movement that has made a lot of progress for those in the system.

Extra Credit

During the 1960s and 1970s, new behaviors emerged from a once very conservative and restricted time period. This new way of acting shocked many Americans and quite understandingly created tensions and fashioned rifts in society. There was what is now known as a “generation gap”. This basically meant the younger generation had started to move away from the older generation. Howard Zinn directly relates this rift to the way in which people now thought it was perfectly appropriate to be gay. Being people thought initially that this practice only occurred within the younger generation, many were proved wrong as middle aged people and also old people were changing their was that astounded others. At the same time however, many young people remained straight.

I believe Howard Zinn chose to bring up the topic of gay people, as society in that period now felt open to the whole idea of it all. Individuals openly spoke about affairs, which before would not have been possible without severe circumstances. People now also felt the need to no longer conceal homosexuality and many went as far to combat discrimination. A sense of community was in search. Times were changing and society changed to a society that we experience today and are very much aware of.

Furthermore. I believe the title of this chapter was called Surprises as even the media began to reflect this content spreading awareness and the idea that this sort of behavior is now ok. “Court decisions overruled the local banning of books that were erotic or even pornographic” this resulted in this content being common in literature and even in normal every day conversation.

Another group of people that definitely changed during the 1960s and 1970s were women. Women were primarily viewed as being housewives, however, women now had more freedoms, which enabled them to vote and work openly. However, once men felt that that women had done enough whilst they were away, they were in a sense “put back into their place” which understandably led to Women’s struggle over change.

“World War II had brought more women than ever before out of the home into work. By 1960, 36 percent of all women sixteen and older- 23 million women-worked for paid wages. But although 43 percent of women with school-age children worked, there were nursery schools for only 2 percent- the rest had to work things out themselves. Women were 50 percent of the voters-but (even by 1967) they held 4 percent of the state legislative seats, and 2 percent of the judgeships”

 This showed the impact and freedoms they had during the war, however it now shows the reality for women once things were back in order. Alice Rossi, feminist and sociologist states:

“There is no overt anti-feminism in our society in 1964, not because sex equality has been achieved, but because there is practically no feminist spark left among American women.”

The surprise is not necessarily that women were treated unequally after they had been granted with freedoms, but that established women from this point on now had an effective voice in the midst of American Society


The Feminist Movement is a series of campaigns on issues such as reproductive rights (including abortion), domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, sexual harassment, and sexual violence.

The history of feminist movements has been divided into three “waves”. Each is described as dealing with different aspects of the same feminist issues. Feminism reached the popular consciousness in the sixtieth with the passage of the Civil Rights Act prohibiting employment discrimination, and a lot of media exposure. Some primary issues of this time were equal pay, equal education access, freedom from sexual harassment, and the right to safe, legal abortions.

Shirley Chisholm is a black congresswoman, who took an active part in processing Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) liked many women did. But she realized even where the law was helpful it is helpful only if people put it into an action. She said “the law cannot do it for us. We must do it for ourselves. Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles and stereotypes… We must replace the old, negative thoughts about our femininity with positive thoughts and positive action…”In Zinn’s opinion that “this meant the rethinking of roles, the rejection of inferiority, the confidence in self, a bond of sisterhood, a new solidarity of mother and daughter.” Zinn disclose that feminist is the main propellant of this movement instead of law. Once we put the law into action, the law becomes meaningful and useful. Moreover, it also shows that this movement is a movement to wake up the self-awareness of women. More and more women realized that they are not an accessory of men, and family isn’t a prison to restrict their right of freedom. Instead of hating men, most feminists believe equality between the sexes will benefit men by unshackling them from traditional expectations. This movement is not only a movement for the social, political, and economic equality of men and women, but a “consciousness raising” of women to the entire society as a whole.

There is another movement incurred by prisoners, which made prisoners no more put out of sight and behind bars. A man in Walpole prison Massachusetts wrote: “every program that we get is used as a weapon against us. The right to go to school, to go to church, to have visitors, to write, to go to the movie. They all end up being weapon of punishment. None of the programs are ours, everything is treated as a privilege that can be taken away from us. The result is insecurity-a frustration that keeps eating away at you.” Zinn include this case in the book because he wants to show the reality of prison falters. At that time the prison was based on hard labor, prisoners were not only suffered with various punishments but lack of basic human right. Such as their letter would be read or tear up by guards, and all visits were not permitted. Moreover, Zinn in his book indicates that “the prison in the United States had long been an extreme reflection of the American system itself: the stark life differences between rich and poor, the racism , the use of victims against one another, the lack of recourses of the underclass to speak out, the endless ‘reforms’ that changed little.” The poorer you were the more likely you were to end up in jail because the law was always on the rich’s side. In result, the jails end up full of poor black people. The movement of prison is not only a movement for the human right of prisoner, but it is movement for people to re-examine the law system and hear the voice from people in the lowest level of society.

So far, never in American history had more movements for change been concentrated in so short a span of years. That is why Zinn called this time of period as a SURPPRISES.


The 1960’s-70 ‘s was an era of revelation for many Americans. It was also an era of many radical movements started by formally oppressed groups of people. Amongst these groups were women; whom were regarded more so as objects, than knowledgeable human beings. At this time, women in politics was an unheard of occurrence, but much to societies surprise, this would soon change. It only took a few braves souls to spark a revolutionary movement. Amongst these was a black congress woman by the name of Shirley Chishlom.

The law cannot do it for us. We must do it for ourselves. Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles and stereotype…we must replace the old, negative thoughts about our femininity with positive thoughts and positive actions.

Shirley Chishlom knew that equality wouldn’t come easy, but the role of women in society wouldn’t evolve overnight. World War II granted women with many new job opportunities. These former trophy/housewives were now able to make their own money much to the dismay of their husbands. Such profound changes might not have occurred if it weren’t for the brave actions of people like Chishlom.

Another issue that many people faced at this time was sexuality. Premarital sex was no longer a silent matter and homosexuality wasn’t as much of a taboo as if once was. Still, there was progress to be made.

“Gay” men and lesbian women organized to combat discrimination against them, to give themselves a sense of community, to overcome shame and isolation

Just like the women’s fight for equality this would be no walk in the park. No matter how expressive the LGBT community may been, their inability  to follow  certain “social norms” made them outcasts; which in my opinion, unfortunately is still often the case today. None the less, this oppressed group of peoples effort to speak out made the topic of sex more approachable. Sex became a commonly used element in both literature and everyday conversation… Much to America’s surprise!