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Help us preserve the living history of feminism!
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Join us in our effort to share second-wave feminist history with the world. Download a print-friendly version of this page (Acrobat PDF format) and send it to a friend...or even better, to lots of friends.

The historic posters of the Women's Graphics Collective are back after a 20 year absence. You can own this feminist art that turned homes and offices into colorful exhibitions for women's liberation as you support the Chicago Women's Liberation Union (CWLU) Herstory Project, an exciting online archive of second-wave feminism. The Women's Graphics Collective began as a workgroup of the CWLU in 1970 and distributed its posters around the world from 1970 to 1983. The CWLU was the umbrella organization of the women's liberation movement in Chicago from 1969 until 1977.

We invite you to explore our site. Tens of thousands of people from around the world have visited our website to browse the hundreds of pages of historic feminist writings, documents, memoirs, interviews, photos, art, music and video. Students from grade school to grad school use our site for school projects and professors routinely assign readings from it.

We began this project in 1998 when former members of the CWLU came together to share the history of our organization and the women's liberation movement of the 1960's and 1970's. From 1969 until 1977 the CWLU organized in Chicago's working class neighborhoods and schools to build a movement for gender equality and overcome divisions of race and sexual orientation. We want to share this legacy with the next generation of activists so that they can use our experience to continue the struggle for justice and equality.

Sisterhood is Powerful was a vision charged with emotion and energy in the early days of the women's liberation movement. In the 1960s and '70s, over 30 work groups and chapters of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union (CWLU) provided support, advocacy, information and service for women. The CWLU blossomed as it's hundreds of volunteers tried new ways of restructuring the world. They thrived despite the lack of foundation grants and other systems that support and fund nonprofit groups today. The CWLU groups and activities included:

  • Jane (underground abortion service)
  • Health Evaluation and Referral Services (HERS)
  • Liberation School
  • Direct Action for Rights in Employment (DARE)
  • Womankind (outreach newspaper)
  • CWLU organizational newsletter
  • Blazing Star (lesbian group)
  • Rape Project
  • Prison Project
  • Action Committee for Decent Childcare (ACDC)
  • Secret Storm (neighborhood outreach and women's sports activism)
  • WITCH (guerilla theater)
  • Rock Band
  • Circle Campus Chapter and other college chapters
  • Demonstrations for reproductive rights, economic justice and the ERA
  • Women's Graphics Collective

Our goal is to make this information available and accessible to activists, students, teachers, and researchers. The CWLU Herstory website documents this important work for future activists, providing a rich collection of primary sources including organizational documents, position papers, newsletters, newspapers, letters, notes, music, photographs and posters. Visitors to the website learn about the CWLU's structure, goals, projects, multiple strategies and tactics, successes and failures. On the web site, former CWLU members, activists and friends tell their stories through audio, video, photos, and written text. Younger activists can communicate with former members, encouraging inter-generational dialogue. Current essays and other writings on feminist issues are posted on our Feminist Salon.

From the beginning, we have been an all-volunteer project. Busy people with work, school and family responsibilities have put in thousands of work-hours and made small financial contributions to keep us going this far. The Center for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Illinois at Chicago sponsors the project, but we have received no university or foundation funding- although we have tried. Foundation grants are very hard to get during these times of budget cutbacks.

Membership dues combined with online sales will likely be our sole funding. We invite you to become a member and support our efforts to document the history of second-wave feminism. In appreciation for your membership, you may choose premiums (a rare original silkscreened poster, poster reprints, t-shirts and refrigerator magnets) featuring posters of the Women's Graphics Collective. CWLU Herstory Project is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Please forward this fundraising campaign to your friends, relatives, students and colleagues.

We are proud of what we have accomplished, but much remains to be done. We intend to greatly expand our website by adding more historical documents, memoirs and oral histories; by providing the younger students with a research guide and a procedure for conducting interviews with second-wave feminists; by setting up a speakers bureau for classes, conferences and public events; by improving our internship program for women's studies students; and by upgrading our website to keep pace with the rapid change in Internet technology. Plus, we're adding documents and memoirs about other second-wave feminist organizations in Chicago.

Estelle Carol, Coordinator

Herstory Board
Estelle Carol
Mary Ellen Croteau
Suzanne Davenport
Amy Laiken
Bob Simpson
Margaret "Peg" Strobel

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