Two Important Books On American Women’s Lives

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Felicia Kornbluh – A Woman’s Life Is a Human Life 

A Woman’s Life Is A Human Life – My Mother, Our Neighbor and the Journey from Reproductive Rights to Reproductive Justice is the story of the movements that transformed the politics of reproductive rights: the fight to decriminalize abortion and the campaign against sterilization abuse, at a time when sterilization was disproportionately proposed as birth control to Black, Latinx, and poor women. Their victories occurred just before and after Roe v. Wade, and their histories cast new light on the case and the fate of reproductive rights and justice today. From dissident Democrats and members of a rising feminist movement who refashioned abortion laws, to progressive ministers and rabbis who led the nation’s largest abortion referral service, to Puerto Rican activists who introduced sterilization abuse to the reproductive rights agenda and Black women who took the cause global, Felicia Kornbluh chronicles how activists changed the law and demanded reproductive justice, she shows how grassroots action overcame the odds—and how it might work today.

Winifred GallagherNew Women in the Old West

Between 1840 and 1910, hundreds of thousands of men and women traveled deep into the underdeveloped American West, lured by the prospect of adventure and opportunity. Alongside this rapid expansion of the United States, a second, overlapping social shift was taking place: Survival in a settler society busy building itself from scratch required two equally hardworking partners, compelling women to compromise Eastern sensibilities and take on some of the same responsibilities as their husbands. At a time when women had very few legal or economic – much less political – rights, these women soon proved they were just as essential as men to westward expansion. Their efforts to attain equality by acting as men’s equals paid off, and well before the Nineteenth Amendment, they became the first American women to vote. In New Women in the Old West, Winifred Gallagher brings to life the riveting history of the little-known women – the White, Black, and Asian settlers, and the Native Americans and Hispanics they displaced – who played monumental roles in one of America’s most transformative periods. Drawing on an extraordinary collection of research, Gallagherweaves together the striking legacy of the persistent individuals who not only created homes on weather-wracked prairies and built communities in muddy mining camps, but also played a vital, unrecognized role in the women’s rights movement and forever redefined the “American woman”.

We selected these two books to celebrate Woman’s History Month

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