ALMA SPEED FOX former executive director of the NAACP (1966-71).
The personal became political for American women in the 1960s—the Equal Rights Amendment, Equal Pay Action, Title VII, Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court, and the National Organization for Women all contributed to changing gender roles and sexual identities. In 1968, the nation saw the Miss America Pageant protest, the first public speak-out against abortion laws, and the first use of the slogan “Sisterhood is Powerful.”
In honor of Women’s History Month, the Senator John Heinz History Center hosted a special panel discussion on the Women’s Liberation Movement on March 14, in conjunction with the History Center’s new exhibition, “1968: The Year That Rocked America” presented by UPMC Health Plan.
The “Sisterhood in Pittsburgh: Women’s Liberation from the 1960s to Today” panel, was moderated by noted scholar Patricia Ulbrich, PhD, focused on the history of the women’s movement in Pittsburgh with some of the most prominent women in the city on the panel. They were: Alma Speed Fox, Molly Rush, Cindy Judd Hill, Sister Patricia McCann and Jeanne Clark.
Fox and Rush, leaders in the Civil Rights Movement, talked about how they became active in the battle for women’s equality. Panel member Hill discussed her involvement in one of the major court cases on sexual discrimination in Pittsburgh in the late 1960s. Sister McCann shared the role of Catholic Sisters in the movement, while Clark helped link the fight for women’s rights in the 1960s to the movement today.
The 1968 exhibit explores this watershed in American history using evocative objects, state-of-the-art multimedia displays, and more than 100 artifacts related to 1968’s seminal moments.