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Alliance Against Women's Oppression records

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00699

Scope and Contents

The Alliance against Women's Oppression Records consists of 5.75 linear ft. and are primarily related to the Bay Area Chapter of the Alliance. The collection contains many documents that articulate and demonstrate the challenges of developing a revolutionary mass organization. The collection is a good source of position and discussion papers, drafts, and AAWO publications, produced by the Alliance. The "United Front Against War and Racism" is a political discussion paper that articulates some of AAWO's political strategy. Through the Coalition Against Infant Mortality (CFIM), 1979 - 1982, AAWO continued the infant mortality activism begun in the TWWA. For the beginnings of this important project of the AAWO, see the TWWA Records also held by the Sophia Smith Collection.

The collection has abundant documentation of the processes of coalition and social investigation that AAWO engaged in reproductive rights advocacy. The collection is rich in documentation of Somos Hermanas's activities in Nicaragua. Types of materials include committee reports; meeting notes; political discussion papers; study guides.

The bulk of the papers date from 1983 to 1988 and focus on the Alliance's many projects organizing activities primarily on the struggle for third world women's rights and equality nationally and internationally.

Dates

  • 1980-1989

Creator

Language of Materials

English , Spanish

Conditions Governing Access

The Records are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (specialcollections@smith.edu) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the records of the organization. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Individual authors in AAOW publications retain copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College as holders of the physical property.

Biographical / Historical

In August of 1980, the Alliance Against Women's Oppression (AAWO) was formed out of a process of transformation and struggle begun in the Third World Women's Alliance (TWWA) in late 1979. The newly formed organization resolved to focus its organizing activities primarily on the struggle for women's rights and equality and against the racialized, gendered, classed sexism of the developed North. The AAWO announced itself as a multi-racial alliance of lesbian and straight women. Women of color lesbian issues that had been stubbornly ignored by the mainstream women's movement were part of the political line of the AAWO.

Continuing work initiated and produced by the TWWA, the AAWO persistently clarified the intersectionality of race, gender, class, and sexuality in its political analysis of capitalism and the conditions of women in the transnational economy. AAWO work areas included infant mortality, reproductive rights, sterilization abuse, Central American and African Women's liberation struggles, and Lesbian and Gay rights. The AAWO also continued the political education work of International Women's Day (IWD). AAWO members produced discussion and position papers for AAWO members and the public. AAWO had chapters in Boston, New York, Louisville, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

In order to take up the struggle of women's oppression nationally and internationally, AAWO created coalitions and joined their efforts with other social justice organizations locally and globally. Some of the organizations they were closely associated with were Somos Hermanas, the Nicaraguan Women's Association (AMNLAE), MADRE, South African Women's Organization, Line of March (LOM), and the National Campaign to Restore Abortion Funding (NCRAF). The AAWO identified itself with socialist, womanist/feminist politics, and provisionally based their political line on a Marxist class analysis.

The AAWO joined their efforts with the Reproductive Rights National Network (R2N2) to advocate for abortion rights for low-income women while also calling attention to the involuntary sterilization of migrant and immigrant women of color. In 1984 in response to the U.S.'s continuing intervention in Nicaragua, AAWO organized a delegation, Somos Hermanas, in alliance with the Nicaraguan women's mass organization, AMNLAE.

AAWO dissolved by 1990. The Women of Color Resource Center (1989 to present) was formed with some members from the TWWA and AAWO. Activist organizational work stretching back to the civil rights movement, the Black Women's Caucus of SNCC, the Third World Women's Alliance and the Alliance Against Women's Oppression was evident in the activist and advocacy politics of the Women of Color Resource Center.

Extent

5.75 linear feet

Overview

International women of color organization, Welfare rights activists, Reproductive rights and Women's health advocates. The Records are primarily related to the Bay Area Chapter of the Alliance and contain documents that articulate and demonstrate the challenges of developing a revolutionary mass organization through position and discussion papers, drafts, and publications produced by the Alliance. There is abundant documentation of the processes of coalition and social investigation that AAWO engaged in reproductive rights advocacy. The collection is rich in documentation of the organization Somos Hermanas in Nicaragua. Types of materials include committee reports; meeting notes; political discussion papers; study guides.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into seven series:
  1. I. ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS
  2. II. POLITICAL PAPERS
  3. III. PUBLICATIONS
  4. IV. AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS
  5. V. SUBJECTS
  6. VI. PHOTOGRAPHS
  7. VII. OVERSIZE

Physical Location

12 boxes

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Cheryl Johnson, Vicki Alexander, Barbara Morita, and Melanie Tervalon donated records to the Women of Color Resource Center Collection/Archives which were then donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by the Third World Women's Alliance Alumni Association Archives Committee.

Related Materials

Additional records are housed at the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House - National Archives for Black Women's History, Amistad Research Center, and Duke University. Related materials in the SSC include Voices of Feminism interviews with Frances Beal and Linda Burnham, and the Third World Women's Alliance Records.

Processing Information

Processed by Sharon Davenport, 2005. Revised by Nichole Calero, Fall 2012
Title
Alliance Against Women's Oppression records
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by Sharon Davenport, revised by Nichole Calero.
Date
2013
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:21-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063