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Beth Bartlett: Making Waves

October 25, 2016

This new book tells the stories of people who put Duluth and Superior at the forefront of innovative feminist organizing.

Beginning in the late 1970s, a wave of feminist organizing broke on the shores of the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin. Its impact has transformed the lives of women and men in these communities and far beyond. Beginning with one of the first rape crisis programs and battered women’s shelters in the nation, pioneering organizations sprang up all over Duluth and Superior to provide services and advocacy, raise awareness, and effect change on a wide range of women’s issues.

Book cover with an image of waves and a shoreline.

"Making Waves: Grassroots Feminism in Duluth and Superior" was published in Fall 2016 by Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Beth Bartlett's new book, Making Waves: Grassroots Feminism in Duluth & Superior, began as a collaborative project of the faculty of what was then the Women's Studies Department, now the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department. The work began in the early 2000s and fell to Bartlett, who is a professor in UMD's Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, to write, shape and complete. Based on over 100 interviews of local feminist activists, as well as archival material and newspaper articles, the book provides a 40-year history of grassroots feminist organizations in Duluth.

"Duluth has been the home of some of the earliest, longest-lasting, and significant grassroots feminist organizations," says Bartlett. "Many of these programs have grown to become national and international leaders in feminist activism." 

Among the featured organizations are the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), Aurora: A Lesbian Center, the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA), the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP), Mending the Sacred Hoop, the Northcountry Women's Coffeehouse, Praxis International, the Program to Aid Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA), Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center, the Women's Health Center, Women's Transitional Housing and Women in Construction.


Making Waves portrays with intimate detail an astonishing array of grassroots feminist organizations in communities surrounding the Duluth Harbor at the tip of Lake Superior. . . . Beth Bartlett’s fine-grained study shows us that we are only beginning to understand the rich feminist ferment that has changed—and continues to change—the world we live in.”
Sara M. Evans, author, Tidal Wave: How Women Changed America at Century’s End

Making Waves is a creatively researched and heartening story that, in Beth Bartlett’s identification and acknowledgement of the foundations of traditional Ojibwe values and womanhood, rides the crest of Third Wave feminism to the intersectional fourth.”
Linda LeGarde Grover, Associate Professor, Department of American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota Duluth

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