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  2. Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975, Revised Edition
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  4. Lee on Dunbar-Ortiz, 'Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, ' | Hs | H-Net
  5. Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie

Through nine linked essays, Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place evokes a vivid impression of the United States: police violence and gun culture, ethnic cleansing and denied history, spellbinding landscapes and brutal weather. To render these conditions in the particulars of place, Askew spotlights the complex history of her home state. Yet no matter our location, Askew argues, we must own our contradictory selves--our violence and prejudices, as well as our hard work and generosity--so the wounds of division in our society can heal.

In these writings, Askew traces a personal journey that begins with her early years as an idealistic teenager mired in what she calls "the presumption of whiteness.

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The evening news confirmed my suspicion. The House Un-American Activities Committee HUAC had convened at city hall to investigate local activists' possible communist connections, and a crowd of people, many of them Berkeley students who had also led protests against the Chessman execution, gathered to disrupt the HUAC meeting. At San Francisco State College I began to rub shoulders with some of the brave youth who challenged the death penalty and government repression. The campus radicals were preparing to participate in the Mississippi Freedom Rides, a national student project organized by the Congress for Racial Equality CORE , one of the largest civil rights groups.

They set up a recruitment table in front of the cafeteria.

I passed the recruitment table often and on purpose, each time determined to stop, but I did not know what to say and I was sure I could not even consider joining the group. Jimmy would be against it, and, in any case, it seemed like an exclusive club to which I could never belong. I thought perhaps I could volunteer to support the cause by typing or answering phones, but I was afraid the activists would reject me. I longed to know those people. One day I mustered my courage and approached the table.

Three students were engrossed in conversation.

I stood there feeling invisible and embarrassed. I was surprised at the sound of my own voice and even more surprised at the words that came out. The question had crossed my mind, but it was not the question I had intended to ask. The conversation stopped, and my words echoed back at me. I was self-conscious and aware of my Jackie Kennedy—imitation appearance and of the twang in my speech.

They stared at me for what seemed like a long time. One of the guys finally said, "No, and we ain't recruitin' 'em either. I walked to the restroom in a daze, and once alone inside the stall, sobbed. Soon after that incident I made a new friend on campus who confided in me that he had been a heroin addict but now had been clean for a year. At fifteen, Frank had run away from an abusive, alcoholic father and a life of rural poverty in Utah only to end up a hopeless addict in the San Francisco Tenderloin.

There he met his wife, and they later had a little boy. He had quit drugs and started studying for a degree, also working as most students at State did. I often visited them at their small apartment near the campus. Frank was a serious jazz fan. He had built his own music system from components and had a large collection of reel-to-reel jazz tapes he played for me. Frank was radical in his thinking and had read widely, but he was contemptuous of the radicals on campus, whom he called elitists from wealthy families.

From Frank, I learned for the first time about the wartime relocation of Japanese Americans and questioned how I got to age twenty-two without ever having heard of it.


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He said that when the Roosevelt administration ordered the internment of all U. After the war, when Congress decided that Native American communal landholding was communistic, Meyer was put in charge of relocating Indians to urban areas and revoking their reservation status, a policy eerily but officially called termination.

He also said that the reason behind the Japanese American internment was California governor Earl Warren's support for the agribusiness lobby that wanted to take over all the farm land in the Central Valley, a good deal of it owned in small plots by Japanese American truck farmers.

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Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975, Revised Edition

One day, Frank's wife left him and took their child back to her family's home in Utah. He was distraught, and then he did not appear on campus for a week. I tried to call him, but his home phone was disconnected. Some time later, I read in the paper that a skid row residence hotel had burned down, that someone smoking in bed had started the fire, and that someone had died.

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It was Frank. I befriended another troubled loner, a fellow student in one of my classes. Hendrik was from a working-class Dutch immigrant family, and he too talked about the terrible deeds of big business and banks.

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One day he invited me to a meeting of a new student club, State, which gathered weekly on campus and some evenings off campus. There were only a half dozen or so young, white men at the meeting and they seemed surprised that Hendrik had brought a woman into the group.


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They talked about the importance of the State, which I had mistaken to mean San Francisco State, which students called State, and when I figured out they were referring to the government, I thought they had been reading Hegel. I attended three meetings before the leader unwrapped and displayed a souvenir Iron Cross and a swastika. I realized then that it was not Hegel but rather Mein Kampf that formed their thinking.

I fled the room and avoided Hendrik after that. Another chance encounter changed my thinking and direction permanently. One day in the cafeteria at San Francisco State, a young Black man handed me a flyer advertising a lecture that afternoon by Malcolm X, whom I had never heard of.

He introduced himself as Art Sheridan and asked if he could sit down.

Lee on Dunbar-Ortiz, 'Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, ' | Hs | H-Net

She suffered, meanwhile, from an abusive relationship with her partner and her own alcoholic habits. Outlaw Woman is neither nostalgic nor apologetic. This tendency to understand the Sixties era in terms of the successes of feminism and the failures of the more militant movements is consistent with most memoirs and historical accounts of the second wave. Many radical men, especially SDS men, burned their draft cards in protest against the Vietnam War in the late s.

Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie

The media created the image of the feminist demonstrations like the protest against the Miss America Pageant in —the first national action by second-wave feminists—as silly and ridiculous acts that seemed a mockery of those more serious leftist movements, although those women never burned anything at the protest. The third is a year later, in , as we were planning to go underground. Citation: Choonib Lee. Hs, H-Net Reviews. November,