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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Suzanne Post, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0178. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Why Anne Braden was unconcerned about feminism

Though Post and Anne Braden worked together frequently on issues of racial justice, Post remembers that Braden did not share her commitment to gender equality. Post explains their divergence by reflecting on the differences in their upbringing.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Suzanne Post, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0178. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Now Anne did go to that, she went to that. I think she went as a reporter.
SARAH THUESEN:
Do you think the different perspective you and Anne had on some of these issues, like you were saying, it's not that she was so much opposed, it just wasn't a priority, do you think that's because you were a little younger than her or how would you explain it?
SUZANNE POST:
No, I think it's because she was Southern-born and because she lived with Carl and Carl was a fiery, really fiery working-class Communist and I think he had enormous influence on her. I don't think he would have thought that women's issues were paramount. He would have thought that economic issues were paramount and that next, civil rights. It's not that Anne didn't support it. It's just where she put the majority of her energy. She did talk to me one day and we said we would try to start a chapter of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, which is a wonderful, wonderful organization. There's never been one here. But like everything else, we just both got so busy and she would have had to be the leader and she just wasn't doing it. So I don't think it was age, I really don't. I think it was coming from the South, knowing that she had lived totally blind to racial injustice until she was older, although God knows I lived pretty blind to it too.
SARAH THUESEN:
I was going to ask, do you see your—. I mean, you grew up in Louisville, right, so you were both Southerners?
SUZANNE POST:
Yeah, I don't know.
SARAH THUESEN:
She was deep South.
SUZANNE POST:
She was deep South. I gave lip service to racial justice even in high school. I went to an all-white girls' public high school and my yearbook said that in twenty-five years, Suzy Kling will be collecting funds for the Urban League in the Fiji Islands. And I had no idea that I was proselytizing in high school, but I guess I was. The thing of it is that the races in Louisville and probably all through the South were so efficiently segregated that it really would take something monumental to remove the blinders that we wore. Just because life went on smoothly and why when I went away to school the first year, I joined the NAACP, I have no idea. I mean, that was in 1953 and it wasn't on the top of the national agenda. So something in me—. My parents believed in racial justice without even using the language. They just let me know that I shouldn't use words, that the n-word was really bad and I don't talk like that. They were good in general. I was born in '33, so during the Depression, men used to come to our back porch for food and mother always fed. I'd look out the window and she'd say, "Stop that. Don't stare. He's having his dinner." Little things like that, I think, begin to accumulate as you grow and they're back here in your mind and germinating. Also my uncle was a Socialist and a friend of Norman Thomas's and ran for mayor on the Socialist ticket in thirty-something.
SARAH THUESEN:
Here in Louisville?
SUZANNE POST:
Uh huh. I always define myself as a Socialist. In fact, Anne used to say to Ed whenever they'd get into hot discussions after dinner at my house, he'd start arguing with her and complaining about me getting out there too far, and she'd say things like, "Edward, you knew Suzy was a Socialist when you married her. What's the problem?" When I got married, I was nineteen years old. So I don't know, but I've always felt that that—. I always liked Eugene Debs and I always liked what he wrote and I always liked what he said and it made perfectly good sense to me. I ran with a group of college kids who were supporting Henry Wallace when he was making his and I used to leaflet. I was fourteen. I think they had an impact on me. I thought they were really hip and I wanted to be like them. Don't ask me why. I was supposed to be at home worrying about Saturday night dates. There was a part of me that was always very politically sensitive. Unformed, uneducated, but politically sensitive.