Barbara Winslow grew up in an “all-white affluent suburb” of New York City, an environment she says she quickly escaped for the open-minded radicalism of Antioch College. Active in the civil rights and antiwar movements, Winslow moved to Seattle and entered graduate school at the University of Washington, where she and her then-husband became leaders in the campus chapter of Students for a Democratic Society and the University of Washington Vietnam Committee.
Winslow found her own political voice with the beginning of the women’s liberation movement in Seattle, a movement she was an integral part of. A coalition of women from the socialist “old left” and the younger “New Left” formed Seattle Radical Women. Winslow quickly became a spokesperson for the emergent women’s movement after giving an impromptu speech at a protest of a playboy bunny who had been invited to speak by the campus administration.
Seattle, Winslow believes, was an extraordinary site for the early women’s movement, for the presence of the old left meant that much of the antiwar and labor movements were sympathetic to what was then known as “the woman question.” However, by 1968, Winslow and other New Left activists left Radical Women to form Women’s Liberation Seattle, breaking from what they saw as the rigidity of the old left as well as the sexism within male-dominated New Left groups like SDS. The burgeoning women’s movement worked on gaining childcare and reproductive care for University of Washington women; organized around abortion laws; supported union rights; and hosted panels on sexism in sports. For Winslow in particular, feminist politics refined and reshaped her opposition to the Vietnam War and her work with antiwar soldiers.
Feminism transformed Winslow’s academic, personal, and political life. She helped begin the women’s studies department at the University of Washington, and found intellectual and political inspiration while doing graduate work in 1969-1970 with legendary social historian E.P. Thompson in England, where she played a role in the early protests and conferences of the English women’s movement. As she says, the women’s movement was “inventing a whole new world”—an exhilarating, exhausting, and, as she put it, tremendously fun project.
After leaving Seattle in 1973, Winslow continued teaching women’s, labor, and African American history at public colleges and universities from Cleveland to New York, and is still a committed socialist feminist and labor advocate. She is now an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Brooklyn College/CUNY, where she serves as the head of the women’s studies program and runs the Shirley Chisholm Project on grassroots women’s activism.
North Star Fund 35th Gala
In 2014, at Chelsea Piers, North Star Fund held its annual Community Gala. This 35th Anniversary Community Gala was a spectacular celebration of North Star Fund and the achievements of our diverse community of philanthropic and grassroots activists and organizers. The event raised $870,000, which broke every previous record.
Notable guests included Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray, Katherine Acey, Nisha Atre, Martha Baker, Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Jay Beckner, Ingrid Benedict, Bill Bragin, Peter Brest, Art Chen, Bobby Cohen, Joe Conason, Larry Condon, Anne Delaney, Maddy deLone, Deni Frand, Elizabeth Gilmore, Elspeth Gilmore, Mark Green, Gary Hattem, Pierre Hauser, Michael Hirschhorn, Sarah Kovner and Victor Kovner, Dal LaMagna, Josh Mailman, Christine Marinoni, Christina McInerney, Pam McMichael, Ruth Messinger, Cynthia Nixon, Shola Olatoye, Ana Oliveira, Erica Payne, Lisa Philp, Mark Reed, Rinku Sen, Tani Takagi, Elizabeth Wagley, Michael Waldman, Maggie Williams, Barbara Winslow, and Kyung Yoon.