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March 14, 2006

Documenting the Diversity of the Women's Movement

Activist Loretta J. Ross to Speak at Smith College

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—A longtime reproductive-rights advocate for women of color will talk about her involvement with Smith College’s ambitious project to chronicle the diverse voices of the feminist movement.

Activist Loretta J. Ross will describe her experience working with archivists in the Sophia Smith Collection, the nation’s oldest repository of women’s history manuscripts and archives, on a project intended to dispel the oft-perpetuated idea of feminism as a white, middle-class movement.

Ross, national coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, will deliver a lecture titled “From Margin to Center: New Voices of Feminism” at 7:30 p.m., Thursday April 6, in the Neilson Library Browsing Room. Sponsored by the Friends of the Smith College Libraries, her talk is free and open to the public.

This is the final year of the Sophia Smith Collection’s four-year “Voices of Feminism Oral History Project,” which has captured the diverse stories of 50 women, each of whom was filmed over the course of about six hours.

Ross played a critical role in identifying activists to be included in the project and conducted some of the interviews. In addition, Ross’ oral history is one of the “Voices of Feminism,” and her personal papers are archived in the Sophia Smith Collection.

Since the early 1970s, Ross has fought for women’s rights and against racism and sexism. The organization that she now leads, SisterSong, is an Atlanta-based group dedicated to improving the lives of women of color in the United States. She examines issues of poverty, lack of access to information, substance abuse and disability.

A political commentator for Pacifica News Service, Ross has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “The Charlie Rose Show,” CNN and BET. Her recent publications include an essay on “African American Women and Abortion After Roe” in the book “Abortion Wars: A Half Century of Struggle.” She is currently writing a book about reproductive rights titled “Black Abortion.”

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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