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Unearthing The Forgotten Feminism Of The 90s

A group of people, all in black shirts, standing in what seems like a city. There is one person in the front of the crowd holding a microphone, the person appears to be a Black woman. They are wearing a shirt that reads 'Black Lives Matter Los Angeles'
Creative Commons
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A Black Lives Matter protest in California in June of 2020. Lisa Levenstein argues that contemporary activists movements like this one can thank networking and other groundwork laid by feminists in the 90s.

Hundreds of thousands of women from across the country donning pink hats flooded onto the nation’s capitol in 2017 for the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. The Women’s March in Washington D.C. — along with sister marches held in all 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries — had some pundits claiming the 2016 election of Donald Trump had awakened the women-identifying electorate. 

An image of a protest in pink and purple instead of black and white, behind the title of the book: 'They Didn't See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties.'
Credit Courtesy of Basic Books
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Levenstein's book cover

But Lisa Levenstein argues in her latest book that the Women’s March and other contemporary activism is rooted in important groundwork laid by feminists in the 1990s. This period of time in feminist history is largely overlooked, with Time Magazine asking “Is Feminism Dead?” on its front cover in June, 1998. Host Frank Stasio talks to Levenstein about “They Didn’t See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties.” Levenstein is also the director of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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