In this richly detailed firsthand history of the contemporary Women's Liberation Movement (WLM), scholar-activist Carol Giardina argues against the prevalent belief that the movement grew out of frustrations over the male chauvinism experienced by WLM founders active in the Black Freedom Movement and the New Left. Instead, she contends, it was the ideas, resources, and skills that women gained in these movements that were the new and necessary catalysts for forging the WLM in the 1960s. Giardina uses a focused study of the WLM in Florida to tap into the common theory and history shared by a relatively small band of Women's Liberation founders across the country. Drawing on a wealth of interviews, autobiographical essays, organizational records, and published writings, "Freedom for Women" brings to light information that has been previously ignored in other secondary accounts about the leadership of African American women in the movement. It also explores activists' roots in other movements on the left. Comprehensive, serendipitous, and carefully formulated, Giardina's work is a vivid portrait of the people and events that shaped radical feminism.
Carol Giardina, assistant professor of history at Queen's College in New York, is one of the founders of the modern Women's Liberation Movement.