Betty Friedan (1921 )
Friedan is the author of The
Feminine Mystique (1963) and the founder of the National Organization
for Women (NOW), which became the principal arm of the postwar feminist movement.
Born Betty Naomi Goldstein in Peoria, Illinois,
Friedan graduated from Smith College in 1942 and studied psychology at the
University of California. While raising her family, she worked as a writer
for womens magazines like Redbook and Ladies Home Journal. A 1957 article for Ladies Home Journal about her Smith classmates
gave her the idea for The Feminine Mystique, which
she wrote during five years of work at the New York Public Library. The book
was an instant success and eventually sold millions of copies.
NOW was founded in her Washington hotel room
after a 1964 federal government-sponsored conference in which womens
concerns were ignored. Friedan created the name National Organization for Women in order to include men. She later came
under sharp attack from more militant feminists for not supporting their more
Quote: Who knows
what women can be when they are finally free to become themselves?The
time is at hand when the voices of the feminine mystique can no longer drown
out the inner voice that is driving women to become more complete.
(The Feminine Mystique, 1963)
REFERENCES: Justine Blau, Betty
Friedan (1990); Daniel Horowitz, Betty Friedan
and the Making of The Feminine Mystique(1998).
James Baldwin (1924 - 1987)
James Baldwin was the black writer whose powerful
fiction and nonfiction works expressed his personal vision of the world and
helped awaken white America to the depths of the racial crisis.
Baldwin was born in Harlem and spent most of
his early life there. His father was an authoritarian, often cruel, Fundamentalist
preacher. Many of Baldwins more autobiographical works, including Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), the work that first
gained him literary fame, reveal the difficulties of his childhood and relations
with his father.
Baldwin spent much time abroad, especially in
Paris, where he felt he could escape the racial restrictions of the United
States. However, he always returned to what he felt was his home
in America. His book The Fire Next Time (1963)
caused great controversy when it was published because of its predictions
of racial violence but was later considered prophetic of the crises of the
Quote: The nation,
the entire nation, has spent a hundred years avoiding the question of the
place of the black man in it.Any honest examination of the national
life proves how far we are from the standard of human freedom with which we
began. The recovery of this standard demands of everyone who loves this country
a hard look at himself. (Nobody Knows My Name, 1961)
REFERENCE: David Leeming, James
Baldwin: A Biography (1994).
Jackson Pollock (1912 - 1956)
Pollock was the most influential American artist
of the immediate postwar era and is considered one of the great modern masters
The son of an unsuccessful Wyoming rancher,
Pollock developed a deep love of nature while working summer jobs at the Grand
In school Pollock was interested only in art
and frequently got into academic and disciplinary difficulty. He studied with
Thomas Hart Benton, the great American regionalist painter.
Pollocks early nature paintings show Bentons influence but also
reflect a tendency toward the abstraction that he later developed.
From 1935 to 1943 Pollock worked for the federal
WPA Art Project. In the early 1940s he was influenced by Jungian therapy and
the work of Picasso and André Breton. He made his breakthrough to abstract
expressionism and later developed his techniques of dripping and splattering
paint on the canvas to create complex special effects. Some of his works that
originally sold for $600 were later bought for over $2 million.
Pollock seldom appeared in public and cultivated
an image as a somewhat rough and mysterious character. He died in an auto
accident in 1956.
I am in my painting Im not aware of what
Im doing.I have no fears of making changes, destroying the image,
etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through.
REFERENCE: Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, Jackson Pollock (1990).