I Still Believe Anita Hill

I Still Believe Anita Hill

by Amy Richards
     
 

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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

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 lesser known is how many women and men were inspired by Anita Hill's bravery, how her testimony changed the feminist movement, and how she singlehandedly brought public awareness to the issue of sexual harassment. Twenty years later, this collection brings together three generations to witness, respond to, and analyze Hill's impact, and to present insights in law, politics, and the confluence of race, class, and gender.

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.

Editorial Reviews

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
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.... The essays are by turns personal and analytical, but all are moving and engrossing... 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558618107
Publisher:
Feminist Press at CUNY, The
Publication date:
12/11/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
349,788
File size:
666 KB

What People are saying about this

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

Meet the Author

Amy Richards is most popularly known as the co-author of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future and as the voice behind Ask Amy, the online advice column she has run since 1995. She is also the author of Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself and the co-author of Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism. In addition to her writing and consulting, Amy spends most of her days running the foremost feminist lecture agency, Soapbox Inc: Speakers Who Speak Out.

Cynthia Greenberg, a former community organizer, works as a consultant to social justice, human rights, and arts organizations. She organized the Sex, Power and Speaking Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later conference.

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