Iowa Women's Archives
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa



RECORDS, 1981-1998
4 linear feet
and audiovisual materials


Iowa Women's Archives
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Phone: 319-335-5068
Fax: 319-335-5900
E-mail the Iowa Women's Archives

Please cite materials from this collection as follows:
Women Against Racism Committee Records, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.


Collection Overview

The records were donated by Junko Kobayashi (donor no. 515) in 1998 and by the Women’s Resource and Action Center (donor no. 222) in 2003.
The records are open for research.
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa. 
Five videocassettes (V373-377) shelved in the videocassette collection.
In Box 8.
Processed by:
Bridgett Williams-Searle, 2000; Sharon M. Lake, 2007. [WAR.doc]


The multi-racial and multi-ethnic Women Against Racism Committee (WAR) was formed in Iowa City, Iowa, in the early 1980s. Its membership consisted primarily of women who used the facilities and services provided by the Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) at the University of Iowa.   The original purpose of the Committee was to critique the racism its members perceived at WRAC.  The members also intended to raise their own consciousnesses about the harmful effects of internalized racism.
WAR members were committed to personal and political transformation.  Their focus was primarily intellectual; members met to discuss joint readings and work through their own positions on racial issues.  In addition to racism, they studied other forms of oppression such as sexism, homophobia, disability-related discrimination, and the challenges facing lesbians of color.  WAR also had a public presence through its workshops and annual conferences, which brought speakers such as Winona LaDuke, Gloria Anzaldua, and Nellie Wong to the University of Iowa campus.  WAR’s most ambitious undertaking was its 1989 national conference, “Parallels and Intersections: Racism and Other Forms of Oppression.”  Participation in WAR ebbed in the late 1990s and the committee ceased to function in mid-1998.

Scope and Content Note

The Women Against Racism Committee records date from 1981 to 1998 and measure 4 linear feet. The records are arranged in five series: Administration, Readings, Parallels and Intersections, Conferences and Workshops, and Photographs. 

The Administration series (1985-1998) includes handouts on the committee’s guidelines and philosophies.  The Correspondence folder includes a 1985 letter from Christine Grant, director of women’s athletics, defending the University of Iowa’s decision to offer a scholarship to a white female student-athlete from South Africa.  (See the packet on anti-apartheid readings in the Readings series put together by the Committee as a response to Grant.)   This series also includes an essay by former WAR member Papusa Molina, written in response to a request from another former WAR member, Gloria Aldalzua, for an anthology that Aldalzua was editing.  In her essay, Molina describes the evolution of WAR and her own evolution as a WAR member.

The Readings series (1981-1994) includes photocopies of the articles that WAR members read, made available to the public, and used for their workshops and conferences.  These readings—essays, scholarly studies, memoirs, poems, and reports—address white racism, feminism, sexism, anti-Semitism, lesbian and gay issues, disability, racial and ethnic identity, domestic violence, and environmental issues.  The authors include African-American, Latina, Asian American, Native American, Jewish, and white women.

The Parallels and Intersections series (1988-1990) documents WAR’s four-day national conference at the University of Iowa in 1989.  WAR put together a national advisory board and spent two years planning this conference, which had no registration fee and was attended by over 1500 people, mostly women.  All conference activities were accessible to people with disabilities; this series includes conference information written in Braille that was available at the registration table.  The Evaluations folder includes over one hundred responses with many comments about the conference. WAR videotaped most of the conference sessions, but ran into technical and administrative difficulties that prevented them from distributing the tapes.  This series includes four conference tapes and a folder with details of the tapes’ contents.

The Conferences and workshops series (1982-1998), arranged chronologically, contains brochures, posters, correspondence, and promotional material for WAR’s annual conferences and intermittent workshops.  The Photographs series (1985-1987) includes photographs and slides of the 1985 and 1987 annual conferences.  Most of the photographs are not labeled.

Related Collections

Rusty Barceló Papers
            Barceló was a member of Women Against Racism Committee

Women’s Resource and Action Center Records


Box List

Box 1                  
    Community involvement sub-committee, 1988-89
Correspondence, 1985-1994
Mailing list/change of address, 1989
Materials from other organizations
      Future Now, undated
National Black Women’s Health Project, 1988
Women for Racial and Economic Equality13: 3-4, (May/August 1988)
    Membership lists, 1985-1990
“Observation of the Women Against Racism Group” by Sudarat Disayawattana, 1989
      General, 1986-1988
Committee guidelines, undated
Handouts, 1988
“Thinking About Racism: 12 Working Assumptions”
Readings on anti-Semitism #1
    “Recognizing, Accepting and Celebrating our Differences” by Papusa Molina, 1998
Recruitment, 1988-1989
Miscellaneous, 1985-1994
    Alcohol abuse materials for Hispanic populations, ca. 1983
Anti-Apartheid packet, 1986
Packet of readings jointly compiled by the Education Committee of the Ad Hoc
Women Against Racism” Collective, undated
People with disabilities, 1988-1989
“The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism,” by Audre Lorde, 1981
White Awareness by Judy Katz (introduction)
“Letter to Ma” by Merle Woo
“White Promotion, Black Survival,” by Gloria Joseph
Nellie Wong
“Transformation of Tradition: Authobiographical Works by American Indian Women,” by Gretchen Bataille
Box 2                  
     “Woman of Power” by Winona LaDuke
Class exploration
People with disabilities, 1987-1988
“Native Women in the World of Work” by Shirley Hill Witt
Native American #1 “Religion and Spirituality: A Constant Reality”
Native American #2 from Star Quilt
Merle Woo
Newsletters re: Jewish issues
“The Women’s Movement and Apartheid in South Africa” by Victoria Snudge
Miscellaneous articles
“Lesbian Paranoia—Real & Imagined Fears”
“Gwen” (homophobia set), 1984
“Scratching the Surface: Some Notes on Barriers to Women and Loving” by Audre Lorde (homophobia set)
“Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” by Adrienne Rich
“The Emotional Impact and a Model for Changing Racist Attitudes” by Joan B. Karp
“On Being White: Thinking Toward a Feminist Understanding of Race and race Supremacy”
Racism and anti-Semitism #3 and 4
Anti-Semitism #2
UN Declaration Apartheid/Sports
Akwasasne Notes
Library articles
“Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Differences” by Audre Lorde
“White Identity Development Theory” by Rita Hardiman
“Internalized Oppression” by Suzanne Lipsky
Re-evaluation counseling and Radical Psychiatry
“Coalition Politics: Turning the Century” by Bernice Johnson Reagon
No Problems Here, Chapters 5 and 9
Women with disabilities
Bridgetta Bourne/Gallaudet articles, 1988
Readings on Asian women
Readings-In-Common, 1983-1988 
Box 3                  
    Master copies of readings
“Do you hear what I hear?” by Connie Lauerman
“To Be a Radical Jew in the Late 20th Century” by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz
Gloria Anzaldua, 1986
Chapters from Black and White Styles in Conflict
Re-evaluation Counseling “Postulates,” 1988WAR Workshop packet of readings, 1984 [bound]
  Parallels and Intersections      

Accessibility committee for people with disabilities
Advisory board
Different abled needs

Box 4                  
      Mailing lists
Past conference materials
Press releases Publicity
Requests for info (added on AR 6000 list)
Requests for info (to be added to AR 6000 list)
September mailing
Miscellaneous conference info
Hugh Masekela
Potential entertainment
      Sponsored programs
Windom Fund/Ms. Foundation/NEH
Box 5                  
      Community organizations
Endorsements (3 folders)
North American Farm Alliance
Post-Apollo Press
Professional organizations
Student organizations
Proposed plenary sessions
Speaker responses
      A-B (2 folders)      
Box 6                  
      C-P (14 folders)      
Box 7                  
      Q-Z (9 folders)
Book for registration table [removed from binder]
Braille books [shelved in oversize: Box 9]
Conference info for information table
Packets (3 folders)
Box 8                  
      Packets (1 folder)
    Videotapes, administrative      
      Checks for reimbursement for VHS tapes
Consent letters
Info and order forms on tapes
Presenter info
Requests for conference tapes
Notes on videocassettes
    Videocassettes of conference sessions [shelved in videocassette collection]
      “Why Can’t Sharon Kowalski Come Home?” by Karen Thompson and “A Historical Review of Civil Rights Legislation Since 1964” by Martha Chamallas (VHS, 120 minutes) [V374]
Closing Plenary Session moderated by Sue Buckley (VHS, 60 minutes) [V375]
June Millington concert and “Re-Thinking Alliance-Building” with Melanie Key/Kantrowitz, Lakota Harden, Rachel Sierra, and Angela Davis (VHS, 120 minutes) [V376]
“Similar Differences” by Dagmar I. Celeste and “Developing Unity Among Women of Color” by Virginia Harris and Trinity Ordona (VHS, 120 minutes) [V377]
  Conferences and Workshops      
    Women Against Racism, 1982
“Freedom Week,” 1983
Anti-racism workhop for women, 1984
“Racism: A Women’s Issue,” 1985
“Recognizing, Accepting, and Celebrating our Differences,” 1986
      Programs and registration
Sponsor sheets
Lectures committee
Conference agenda

“The Politics of Color,” 1987

      Programs and evaluations
Registration and correspondence
Childcare and children’s workshop
    “Recognizing, Accepting and Celebrating our Differences” workshops, 1989-1990
“Dialogue and Exploration: Racial Issues on Campus,” 1991 (VHS, 120 minutes)
V373: shelved in videocassette collection]
 “Women of Color . . . Daring to Dialogue,” 1992
Workshops, 1995-1998
    Conference photos, 1985, 1987 and undated
Slides, 1987
Box 9                  

Parallels and Intersections

      Braille book      


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