Pittsburgh has a long history of producing entrepreneurs, philanthropists, artists, and musicians. What is less well known is that the region was also the birthplace of some influential leaders of the women’s movement and was home to several pioneering feminist organizations during the latter part of the 1900s. In Sisterhood: The Women’s Movement in Pittsburgh© is an oral history and multimedia project designed to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of this inspiring aspect of the region’s history and to highlight how progress was achieved through the hard work and determination of a diverse group of local grassroots activists.
We are recording oral histories for individuals who were active in the women’s movement in Pittsburgh during the period 1967-1987. Oral histories are recorded on digital video to capture participants’ expressions and gestures along with their words. The oral histories are transcribed and individuals receive a bound copy of their oral history as a keepsake.
The In Sisterhood multimedia exhibit includes photographic portraits of the people who have participated in the oral history project, short documentary videos, period photos and memorabilia. The videos combine excerpts from the oral history interviews, archival footage and photos to document successful efforts by grass roots activists in Pittsburgh to break down barriers to equality for women and girls. The multimedia exhibit is suitable for installations in galleries, museums, universities and public spaces. It has been installed in ten venues in western Pennsylvania (see exhibits).
The In Sisterhood project is developing a major collection representing the extensive network of feminist individuals and organizations that flourished in southwest Pennsylvania during the later half of the 20th century. The oral histories and transcripts in digital format will be donated to the University of Pittsburgh Library Archive Center when the project is finished. They will be accessible to scholars, teachers and individuals in regional and national history.
The In Sisterhood collection also includes material from the private collections of people who have participated in the project. People have donated meeting minutes and newsletters from various feminist organizations, including local chapters of the National Organization for Women, independent feminist newspapers, period photos from the women’s movement, archival video, and extensive memorabilia.