Tag Archives: Anne Marie Pois

Not Playing Bridge and Eating Bonbons

21 Jul

WHY DID SHE DO IT? Why did Sue Anderson join the League of Women Voters decades ago when her children were young and she had that “I’ve got to get out of the house!” feeling? She did it because:

“It wasn’t playing bridge and eating bonbons.”

In this series of video excerpts from her oral history interview, which was conducted by historian Anne Marie Pois, Anderson describes her journey from political innocent, intimidated by her first League meeting, to becoming president of  League chapters in both Virginia and Colorado. As do many women, she learned political skills and personal confidence from her work with the League. She became a person who could wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for governmental reform and then shepherd that idea to an electoral win with 60 percent of the vote.

In this video, Anderson also gives insight into the structure of the League and is candid about challenges now facing the organization.

People who know Sue Anderson tell her she should run for elected office, and she says, “No, thanks!” Watch the video and learn why.

The Power of Story

11 Mar

BRENE BROWN is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate School of Social work. For the past ten years, she has studied human connection through vulnerability, courage, athenticity, and shame. In a TED talk about the power of vulnerability, Dr. Brown had this to say:

“Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”

We like this statement as a way of understanding why oral histories make the past come alive and often mean more to us than the what-when-where facts of history.

You can hear Dr. Brown’s TED talk here. (Thanks to Anne Marie Pois for bringing this talk to our attention.)

A Dinner Party Makes History

23 Jun

Artist Judy Chicago stands in front of her now-famous art installation "The Dinner Party"

THIRTY-FOUR YEARS AGO, in 1976, artist Judy Chicago invited the world to a dinner party that already had more than a thousand guests. “The Dinner Party” is “an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art…. [It] comprises a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history. The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates … rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table.” (This description is taken from the web site of the Brooklyn Museum, which now permanently displays the art installation as the centerpiece of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Anne Marie Pois, an oral historian with the Boulder Library’s Maria Rogers Oral History Program, was involved in the creation of “The Dinner Party.” She has made a short video,  “Right Into History: The Dinner Party as Catalyst for Social Activism,” which you can watch here, in which she tells the story both of the collaborative process of creating this now-famous piece of art and the ways in which it contributed to her becoming a history professor (she taught in the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Colorado for sixteen years) and a life-long social activist. Continue reading

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