I Still Believe Anita Hill

Overview

In the fall of 1991, Anita Hill captured the country's attention, when she testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee describing sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas, who had been her boss, and was about to ascend to the Supreme Court. We know what happened: she was challenged, disbelieved, and humiliated; he was given a life-long appointment to decide America's judicial fate. What is less known is how many women and men were inspired because of Anita Hill's bravery, how her testimony changed the feminist...

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I Still Believe Anita Hill

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Overview

In the fall of 1991, Anita Hill captured the country's attention, when she testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee describing sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas, who had been her boss, and was about to ascend to the Supreme Court. We know what happened: she was challenged, disbelieved, and humiliated; he was given a life-long appointment to decide America's judicial fate. What is less known is how many women and men were inspired because of Anita Hill's bravery, how her testimony changed the feminist movement, and how she singlehandedly brought public awareness to the issue of sexual harassment. Thomas might have won his seat, but Anita Hill's legacy mobilized the women's movement and our need to demand more than the status quo.

Twenty years later, this collection brings together three generations to witness, respond to, and analyze Hill's impact and present insights in law; politics; the confluence of race, class, and gender; the persistent questioning of women's credibility; and current cases of sexual harassment. With original contributions by Anita Hill, Melissa Harris-Perry, Catharine MacKinnon, Patricia J. Williams, Eve Ensler, Ai Jen Poo, Kimberly Crenshaw, Lynn Nottage, Gloria Steinem, Lani Guinier, Lisa Kron, Mary Oliver, Edwidge Danticat, Kevin Powell, and many others.

Amy Richards is the author of Opting In, co-author of Manifesta, and co-founder of Soapbox, Inc.

Cynthia Greenberg organized Sex, Power, and Speaking Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later, a conference at Hunter College in 2011.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This powerful book preserves the essays and conversations from the October 2011 conference organized at Hunter College for the 20th anniversary of Anita Hill’s testimony at Clarence Thomas’s Senate confirmation hearings. The eloquent results explore the hearings themselves—in which Hill charged that Supreme Court nominee Thomas had sexually harassed her—as well as their impact on the legal, social, and cultural landscape, and the lives of the authors. Broken into four sections, the book includes reminiscences by key figures such as Charles Ogletree, Hill’s lead counsel, and Representatives Louise Slaughter and Patricia Schroeder, part of the delegation of women from the House who demanded an inquiry into the allegations, alongside essays by younger feminists, and a strong essay by Hill herself (now a professor at Brandeis University). The essays are by turns personal and analytical, but all are moving and engrossing. The volume also includes wonderful poems and performance pieces from the event, authored by the likes of Edwidge Danticat and Eve Ensler. These timely essays show us how those historic hearings brought sexual harassment (especially in the workplace) into the public eye, while also revealing what still hasn’t changed, and reminding us of the intersection of race, class, gender, and power that underlies this contentious issue. (Jan.)
From the Publisher

"This powerful book preserves the essays and conversations from the October 2011 conference organized at Hunter College for the 20th anniversary of Anita Hill’s testimony at Clarence Thomas’s Senate confirmation hearings. The eloquent results explore the hearings themselves—in which Hill charged that Supreme Court nominee Thomas had sexually harassed her—as well as their impact on the legal, social, and cultural landscape, and the lives of the authors. Broken into four sections, the book includes reminiscences by key figures such as Charles Ogletree, Hill’s lead counsel, and Representatives Louise Slaughter and Patricia Schroeder, part of the delegation of women from the House who demanded an inquiry into the allegations, alongside essays by younger feminists, and a strong essay by Hill herself (now a professor at Brandeis University). The essays are by turns personal and analytical, but all are moving and engrossing. The volume also includes wonderful poems and performance pieces from the event, authored by the likes of Edwidge Danticat and Eve Ensler. These timely essays show us how those historic hearings brought sexual harassment (especially in the workplace) into the public eye, while also revealing what still hasn’t changed, and reminding us of the intersection of race, class, gender, and power that underlies this contentious issue." -Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
The proceedings of a symposium of human rights activists, political analysts, legal experts and artists who came together in 2011 to commemorate Anita Hill's courageous testimony at Justice Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing 20 years earlier. The contributors spoke about the lasting impact of her groundbreaking testimony before the Senate that Thomas had sexually abused her. The incidents related by Hill (Law/Brandeis Univ.; Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race and Finding Home, 2011, etc.) had occurred in 1981 when Thomas was chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She accused him of using his position as her supervisor to coerce her into having sexual relations. Lani Guinier--the first black tenured professor at Harvard Law School--writes about how she and Thomas were among the few blacks at Yale Law School. She explains how, after the hearings, there was animated debate about the conflict between racial solidarity and a black woman's right to defend herself. A majority of Americans at the time accepted Thomas' claims that Hill was lying. Dorothy Samuels--a member of the New York Times editorial board since 1984--explains the liberating impact of Hill's revelations: "It was soap opera, and a riveting social, legal, and political history lesson all rolled into one….the issue of sexual harassment was out of the shadows." Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, a volunteer on Hill's legal team, describes a campus rally in 1990 (demanding tenure for "women of color") addressed by Barack Obama, then president of the Harvard Law Review. Yale law professor Judith Resnik points out that Thomas, then as now, was "against affirmative action, against abortion, against state-provision of assistance." Hill, looking to the future, wonders "what equality is going to be like in the twenty-first century." A well-pulled-together collection from Richards (Opting In, 2008, etc.) and Greenberg.
Library Journal
This volume collects pieces from a conference at Hunter College in 2011, organized to mark the 20th anniversary of the Senate confirmation hearings over Clarence Thomas's appointment as a Supreme Court justice, at which Anita Hill testified against his confirmation. The collection includes essays and poetry from women and a few men, many of whom are well known, e.g., Gloria Steinem, Catharine MacKinnon, and Melissa Harris-Perry, as well as Hill herself. The commentaries acknowledge the disgraceful treatment of Hill at the hands of the all-white, all-male panel chaired by Senator Joseph Biden, who permitted Hill to testify but barred her supporting witnesses. These hearings produced a new awareness of sexual harassment as well as new movements to protect the most powerless of women against the depredations of privileged men. VERDICT There is already a substantial literature on the Clarence Thomas hearings and Hill (e.g., Jane Mayer & Jill Abramson's Strange Justice). These short pieces add little new to the conversation, but may be of interest to newcomers to the topic.—Cynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558618091
  • Publisher: Feminist Press at CUNY, The
  • Publication date: 12/11/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,421,200
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Amy Richards is most popularly known as the author of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future (co-authored with Jennifer Baumgardner and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2000 with an anniversary and updated edition published in 2010) and as the voice behind Ask Amy, the online advice column she has run at feminist.com since 1995. Amy is also the author of Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself, about feminism and motherhood, and the co-author of Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism. Amy’s writings have appeared in The Nation, LA Times, Bust, Ms. and numerous anthologies, including Listen Up, Body Outlaws and Catching A Wave—where she has tackled issues ranging from plastic surgery to abortion politics.
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Table of Contents

Editors' Note Amy Richards Cynthia Greenberg 11

Excerpts from the Testimony of Anita Hill 13

When You Speak Up Eve Ensler 17

Introduction Amy Richards 23

A Comment, Not Casual, Concerning Anita Hill Mary Oliver 25

Part I Witnesses: What Happened?

Remembrances: The Anita Hill Hearings-Twenty Years Later Louise M. Slaughter Maureen Dowd Patricia Schroeder 29

A Thank You Note to Anita Hill Letty Cottin Pogrebin 33

Twenty Years Later Dorothy Samuels 36

Anita Hill: Still Speaking Truth to Power Twenty Years Later Charles Ogletree 38

But Some of Us Are Brave Lani Guinier 43

Old and New Depictions of Justice: Reflections, circa 2011, on Hill-Thomas Judith Resnik 51

Voice, Heart, Ground Catharine A. MacKinnon 71

But I Could Be Jamia Wilson 75

Don't Get Me Started on These Women… Lisa Kron 80

Part II Responders: What Does Anita Hill Mean to You?

Nita Faye Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes 89

What Does Anita Hill Mean to You? Pat Mitchell Joanne N. Smith Ai-jen Poo Emily May Melissa V. Harris-Perry Rha Goddess 96

Word Power Hope Anita Smith 113

Part III I Still Believe Anita Hill

A Poem for Anita Hill Kevin Powell 121

What Does Credibility Look Like? Patricia J. Williams 131

Give Your Child Your Luggage, Not Your Baggage Anita F. Hill 135

Good Morning Anita Hill Edwidge Danticat 143

Part IV What Have we Learned in Twenty Years and What Comes Next?

The Bloodless Coup Deborah Copaken Kogan 149

Severe and Pervasive Kathleen Peratis 154

Stunned but Not Bowed Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw 158

Sex, Power, and Change: Where Do We Go Now? Virginia Valian 184

Supremacy Crimes Gloria Steinem 196

Very Easy to Say and Very Hard to Do-Even Twenty Years Later Devon W. Carbado 203

How to Run with It Julie Zeilinger 210

The Scarlet C Lynn Nottage 216

Afterword Cynthia Greenberg 221

Appendix

Additional Excerpts from the Testimony of Anita Hill 225

Discussion Questions 232

Toolkit for Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace 233

Co-Sponsors and Additional Resources 239

Acknowledgments 246

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