Eleanor Flexner: Civil Rights and Feminist Activism and Writing
Eleanor Flexner’s Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States appeared in 1959, at the height of the Cold War and a decade before women’s history was recognized in the academy. Century of Struggle focused on suffrage but, rather than examining political rights narrowly defined, it integrated the struggles of African-American and working-class women into the story of political reform. It was remarkable for its topic, for being unabashedly connected to women’s rights as a social movement, and for rooting its argument in what today is called the intersectionality of gender, race, and class. It linked Flexner’s experiences in left-wing union advocacy and civil rights during the 1930s and 1940s to movements that flourished in the decades after Century was published.