The Feminist and the Axe Murderer

Susan Glaspell was just 24, working her first job out of college as a reporter for the Des Moines Daily News when she was called to the scene of a grisly crime that would shape her artistic destiny. Late on the night of December 1, 1900, John Hossack had been bludgeoned to death with an axe as he lay in bed. Margaret, his wife of 33 years, slept on beside him during the murder, or so she claimed.

Despite her children’s protests, she was arrested and charged with murder. The trial became a sensation, and Glaspell’s reporting on the case and its surprising outcome was eagerly devoured well beyond Iowa. To say that the case became a referendum on domestic abuse would be to rewrite history, but the sympathies aroused by the stoic Margaret Hossack were indicative of a gradual change in the popular understanding of women’s rights and legal status. Continue reading “The Feminist and the Axe Murderer”

Feminist Slam

Some of my favorite slam poetry fixes come from Button Poetry, founded in 2011 by Sam Cook and Sierra DeMulder, who were shortly joined by Rachele Cermak and Heidi Lear. They launched the first Button website and blog.

Sierra DeMulder was the first to pull me in with her poem “Today Means Amen,” from her poetry book with the same title.

Continue reading “Feminist Slam”

Florynce “Flo” Kennedy: Black Radical Feminist

It’s black history month, the perfect time to read about social justice trailblazers both celebrated and forgotten. Margo Jefferson’s wonderful memoir, Negroland, about growing up in a wealthy, elite African American family in the 1940s and ’50s, was my first introduction to Florynce “Flo” Kennedy, an outspoken black feminist who inspired Jefferson and many others. Continue reading “Florynce “Flo” Kennedy: Black Radical Feminist”

Have you heard of the #LemonadeSyllabus?

lemonade-syllabusWhen Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade was released this past April, it became an internet sensation. But did you hear about the amazing resource, titled the Lemonade Syllabus, which was inspired by it?

After many people across the world watched Beyoncé’s visual album, writer and educator Candice Benbow wanted to find a way to continue the conversation around the album’s themes of Black female empowerment and feminism. So Benbow started the hashtag “#LemonadeSyllabus” and asked that Black women around the world use the hashtag to suggest songs, books, film and poetry that were “primarily by Black women- that they believe best accompanied Lemonade and spoke to the essence of Black womanhood in its historical and contemporary manifestations.”  Continue reading “Have you heard of the #LemonadeSyllabus?”