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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Women Against Racism Committee (Iowa City, Iowa) records

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1981-1998
Creator: Women Against Racism Committee (Iowa City, Iowa)
Extent: 4.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0364
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Multiethnic group founded in 1981 by women from the University of Iowa.

Alternate Extent Statement: 5 videocassettes [V373-377]
Photographs in Box 8

Access: The records are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The records were donated by Junko Kobayashi (donor no. 515) in 1998 and by the Women's Resource and Action Center (donor no. 222) in 2003.

Preferred Citation: Women Against Racism Committee (Iowa City, Iowa) records, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

The multi-racial and multi-ethnic Women Against Racism Committee (WAR) was formed in Iowa City, Iowa, in the early 1980s. Its membership consisted primarily of women who used the facilities and services provided by the Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) at the University of Iowa. The original purpose of the Committee was to critique the racism its members perceived at WRAC. The members also intended to raise their own consciousnesses about the harmful effects of internalized racism.

WAR members were committed to personal and political transformation. Their focus was primarily intellectual; members met to discuss joint readings and work through their own positions on racial issues. In addition to racism, they studied other forms of oppression such as sexism, homophobia, disability-related discrimination, and the challenges facing lesbians of color. WAR also had a public presence through its workshops and annual conferences, which brought speakers such as Winona LaDuke, Gloria Anzaldua, and Nellie Wong to the University of Iowa campus. WAR's most ambitious undertaking was its 1989 national conference, "Parallels and Intersections: Racism and Other Forms of Oppression".” Participation in WAR ebbed in the late 1990s and the committee ceased to function in mid-1998.

The Women Against Racism Committee records date from 1981 to 1998 and measure 4 linear feet. The records are arranged in five series: Administration, Readings, Parallels and Intersections, Conferences and Workshops, and Photographs.

The Administration series (1985-1998) includes handouts on the committee's guidelines and philosophies. The Correspondence folder includes a 1985 letter from Christine Grant, director of women's athletics, defending the University of Iowa's decision to offer a scholarship to a white female student-athlete from South Africa. (See the packet on anti-apartheid readings in the Readings series put together by the Committee as a response to Grant.) This series also includes an essay by former WAR member Papusa Molina, written in response to a request from another former WAR member, Gloria Aldalzua, for an anthology that Aldalzua was editing. In her essay, Molina describes the evolution of WAR and her own evolution as a WAR member.

The Readings series (1981-1994) includes photocopies of the articles that WAR members read, made available to the public, and used for their workshops and conferences. These readings--essays, scholarly studies, memoirs, poems, and reports--address white racism, feminism, sexism, anti-Semitism, lesbian and gay issues, disability, racial and ethnic identity, domestic violence, and environmental issues. The authors include African-American, Latina, Asian American, Native American, Jewish, and white women.

The Parallels and Intersections series (1988-1990) documents WAR's four-day national conference at the University of Iowa in 1989. WAR put together a national advisory board and spent two years planning this conference, which had no registration fee and was attended by over 1500 people, mostly women. All conference activities were accessible to people with disabilities; this series includes conference information written in Braille that was available at the registration table. The Evaluations folder includes over one hundred responses with many comments about the conference. WAR videotaped most of the conference sessions, but ran into technical and administrative difficulties that prevented them from distributing the tapes. This series includes four conference tapes and a folder with details of the tapes' contents.

The Conferences and workshops series (1982-1998), arranged chronologically, contains brochures, posters, correspondence, and promotional material for WAR's annual conferences and intermittent workshops. The Photographs series (1985-1987) includes photographs and slides of the 1985 and 1987 annual conferences. Most of the photographs are not labeled.
Rusty Barceló papers (IWA): Barceló was a member of Women Against Racism Committee.
Women's Resource and Action Center records (IWA).

Browse by Series:
Series 2: READINGS

  • Box 1:
  • Community involvement sub-committee - 1988-1989
  • Correspondence - 1985-1994
  • Letterhead
  • Mailing list/change of address - 1989
  • Materials from other organizations: Future Now, undated
  • Materials from other organizations: National Black Women's Health Project - 1988
  • Materials from other organizations: Women for Racial and Economic Equality 13: 3-4, (May/August) - 1988
  • Membership lists - 1985-1990
  • "Observation of the Women Against Racism Group" by Sudarat Disayawattana - 1989
  • Orientation: General - 1986-1988
  • Orientation: Committee guidelines, undated
  • Orientation: Handouts - 1988
  • Orientation: "Thinking About Racism: 12 Working Assumptions"
  • Orientation: Readings on anti-Semitism #1
  • "Recognizing, Accepting and Celebrating our Differences" by Papusa Molina - 1998
  • Recruitment - 1988-1989
  • Miscellaneous - 1985-1994
  • Series 2: READINGS
  • Box 1:
  • Alcohol abuse materials for Hispanic populations - 1983
  • Anti-Apartheid packet - 1986
  • Packet of readings jointly compiled by the Education Committee of the Ad Hoc "Women Against Racism" Collective, undated
  • People with disabilities - 1988-1989
  • "The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism," by Audre Lorde - 1981
  • White Awareness by Judy Katz (introduction)
  • "Letter to Ma" by Merle Woo
  • "White Promotion, Black Survival," by Gloria Joseph
  • Nellie Wong
  • "Transformation of Tradition: Autobiographical Works by American Indian Women," by Gretchen Bataille
  • Box 2:
  • "Woman of Power" by Winona LaDuke
  • Class exploration
  • People with disabilities - 1987-1988
  • "Native Women in the World of Work" by Shirley Hill Witt
  • Agism
  • Native American #1 "Religion and Spirituality: A Constant Reality"
  • Native American #2 from Star Quilt
  • Merle Woo
  • Newsletters re: Jewish issues
  • "The Women's Movement and Apartheid in South Africa" by Victoria Snudge
  • "Lesbian Paranoia - Real & Imagined Fears"
  • "Gwen" (homophobia set) - 1984
  • "Scratching the Surface: Some Notes on Barriers to Women and Loving" by Audre Lorde (homophobia set)
  • "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" by Adrienne Rich
  • "The Emotional Impact and a Model for Changing Racist Attitudes" by Joan B. Karp
  • "On Being White: Thinking Toward a Feminist Understanding of Race and race Supremacy"
  • Racism and anti-Semitism #3 and 4
  • Anti-Semitism #2
  • UN Declaration Apartheid/Sports
  • Akwasasne Notes
  • Library articles
  • "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Differences" by Audre Lorde
  • "White Identity Development Theory" by Rita Hardiman
  • "Internalized Oppression" by Suzanne Lipsky
  • Re-evaluation counseling and Radical Psychiatry
  • "Coalition Politics: Turning the Century" by Bernice Johnson Reagon
  • No Problems Here, Chapters 5 and 9
  • Women with disabilities
  • Bridgetta Bourne/Gallaudet articles - 1988
  • Readings on Asian women
  • Miscellaneous
  • Readings-In-Common - 1983-1988
  • Box 3:
  • Master copies of readings
  • "Do you hear what I hear?" by Connie Lauerman
  • "To Be a Radical Jew in the Late 20th Century" by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz
  • Gloria Anzaldua - 1986
  • Chapters from Black and White Styles in Conflict
  • Re-evaluation Counseling "Postulates" - 1988
  • WAR Workshop packet of readings [bound] - 1984
  • Sub-Series: Administration
  • Box 3:
  • Accessibility committee for people with disabilities
  • Accommodations
  • Advisory board
  • Correspondence
  • Different abled needs
  • Evaluations
  • Box 4:
  • Mailing lists
  • Past conference materials
  • Press releases
  • Publicity
  • Requests for info (added on AR 6000 list)
  • Requests for info (to be added to AR 6000 list)
  • September mailing
  • Subcommittees
  • Miscellaneous conference info
  • Sub-Series: Entertainment
  • Box 4:
  • Contracts
  • Film
  • Hugh Masekela
  • Palaver
  • Sabia
  • Video
  • Potential entertainment
  • Sub-Series: Grants
  • Box 4:
  • Sponsored programs
  • Windom Fund/Ms. Foundation/NEH
  • Box 5:
  • Miscellaneous
  • Sub-Series: Outreach
  • Box 5:
  • Community organizations
  • Endorsements (3 folders)
  • Exhibitors
  • North American Farm Alliance
  • Post-Apollo Press
  • Prairiefire
  • Professional organizations
  • Student organizations
  • Sub-Series: Programming
  • Box 5:
  • Proposals
  • Proposed plenary sessions
  • Speakers
  • Speaker responses
  • Workshops/papers
  • Sub-Series: Registration
  • Box 5:
  • A-B (2 folders)
  • Box 6:
  • C-P (14 folders)
  • Box 7:
  • Q-Z (9 folders)
  • Book for registration table [removed from binder]
  • Cancellations
  • Conference info for information table
  • Packets (3 folders)
  • Box 8:
  • Packets
  • Questions
  • Reports
  • Box 9:
  • Registration Braille book
  • Sub-Series: Videotapes, administrative
  • Box 8:
  • Checks for reimbursement for VHS tapes
  • Consent letters
  • Info and order forms on tapes
  • Presenter info
  • Requests for conference tapes
  • Notes on videocassettes
  • Sub-Series: Videocassettes of conference sessions [shelved in videocassette collection]
  • Box 8:
  • Videocassette V374: "Why Can't Sharon Kowalski Come Home?" by Karen Thompson and "A Historical Review of Civil Rights Legislation Since 1964" by Martha Chamallas
  • Videocassette V375: Closing Plenary Session moderated by Sue Buckley
  • Videocassette V376: June Millington concert and "Re-Thinking Alliance-Building" with Melanie Key/Kantrowitz, Lakota Harden, Rachel Sierra, and Angela Davis
  • Videocassette V377: "Similar Differences" by Dagmar I. Celeste and "Developing Unity Among Women of Color" by Virginia Harris and Trinity Ordona
  • Box 8:
  • Women Against Racism - 1982
  • "Freedom Week" - 1983
  • Anti-racism workshop for women - 1984
  • "Racism: A Women's Issue" - 1985
  • "Recognizing, Accepting, and Celebrating our Differences": Programs and registration - 1986
  • "Recognizing, Accepting, and Celebrating our Differences": Sponsor sheets - 1986
  • "Recognizing, Accepting, and Celebrating our Differences": Lectures committee - 1986
  • "Recognizing, Accepting, and Celebrating our Differences": Conference agenda - 1986
  • "The Politics of Color": Programs and evaluations - 1987
  • "The Politics of Color": Registration and correspondence - 1987
  • "The Politics of Color": Childcare and children's workshop - 1987
  • "The Politics of Color": Fundraising - 1987
  • "Recognizing, Accepting and Celebrating our Differences" workshops - 1989-1990
  • Videocassette V373: "Dialogue and Exploration: Racial Issues on Campus" - 1991
  • "Women of Color . . . Daring to Dialogue" - 1992
  • Workshops - 1995-1998
  • Series 5: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 8:
  • Conference photos - 1985, 1987
  • Slides - 1987