Records of the March for Women's Lives, 1988-2004 (inclusive), 2003-2004 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 2003-2004
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
6.67 linear feet ((16 file boxes) plus 2 folio+ folders, 1 oversize folder, 1 supersize folder, 1 object)
Series I, ADMINISTRATION, 2001-2004, n.d. (#1.1-5.3), includes meeting agendas, minutes, correspondence, reports, budgets, and notes from the Coordinating Committee, the Steering Committee, the principals committee, and the field forces committees from the national office of the March for Women's Lives. The memorandum of understanding among the seven organizations: National Black Women's Health Imperative, NOW, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, NARAL Pro-Choice America, ACLU, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (#3.1), as well as guidelines on interpersonal relationships and alcohol and drug use by March employees (#2.8) are included. Correspondence among the major sponsors, found throughout the series, includes a debate over sharing member lists after the March, and a report on which organizations had posted a link to the March web site prominently on their homepage. Resumes of staff members, contracts with consultants, staff changes, and salaries are also documented here. Material relating to the formation of New Voices for Reproductive Justice and its mobilization of women of color for the March include Loretta Ross's itineraries (#2.2, 3.6). Fundraising efforts are also documented here, such as grant applications and reports to the Joint Emergency Campaign. There is litigation from Reverend Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, who sued March for Women's Lives and the National Park Service in order to have a counter-demonstration in the same area as the March (#2.7). Also included are memoranda that describe failures in planning the March, as well as phone message logs, and postage logs. Letters that were sent to the March office include requests for transportation to March, support for the March, a request for legal help, complaints of the lack of media coverage, and an anti-choice letter in response to a fundraising mailing. Members of the International Working Group included Catholics for a Free Choice Latin America, International Pregnancy Advisory Services, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Population Action International, and the Center for Health and Gender Equity. This series is arranged alphabetically.
Series II, LOGISTICS, 1988-2004, n.d. (#5.4-8.5), includes permits, contracts, memoranda, maps, correspondence, reports, budgets, notes, program schedules, and lists of speakers connected to the planning, organizing, and executing of the March for Women's Lives. Logistical planning included permits and contracts with the National Park Service, the City of Washington, DC, hotels, security, public relations firms, speakers, and honored guests. Also included are contacts with the media, transportation plans, communication charts, schematics for the grid planning for the stages and demonstrators, production timetables, and technical support. Also documented are arrangements for water for the marchers, portable toilets, bus parking, and the kickoff fundraising event held the night before the March. This material covers not only the day of the March, but also the year of planning beforehand. Many of the sponsoring organizations sent the March office names of proposed speakers; these often also included the speaker's resume (#8.1). Correspondence regarding the open air trolley for those with physical disabilities can be found here (#7.7). See also Series IV for a large scale schematic map of grid positions on the National Mall. This series is arranged alphabetically.
Series III, OUTREACH, 1997, 2003-2004, n.d. (#8.6-16.9), includes call sheets, volunteer forms, RSVP cards, correspondence, memoranda, press releases, organizer kits, contact sheets, co-sponsor forms, and sign-up sheets. The March organizers teamed up with the company Meet Up to plan scheduled monthly events for people to join delegations. These delegations had to consist of at least 20 people, and the March office kept track of each group through call sheets that recorded contact made with each delegation. Call sheets are also included from the various sponsors and co-sponsors around the country. Planning and training documents from the "Meet Up. Mobilize. March" events and phone booths are found here, as well as volunteer forms. Also included throughout the series is correspondence from organizations that did not want to co-sponsor, international participants who wanted to march, honored guests, organizations not interested in funding the March, and letters from some of the Congressional invitees. Materials also contain button, poster, and t-shirt orders, as well as flyers in English and Spanish. Also found here are usage statistics from the March's web site. This series is arranged alphabetically.
Series IV, OVERSIZED AND MEMORABILIA, 2004, n.d. (#16.10m, F+D.1m-F+D.2, OD.1, SD.1, Mem.1), includes printed posters, schematic maps, a bumper sticker, a sash, and a hand-held fan. Some posters were created by Students for Planned Parenthood, the Reform Jewish Movement, and Spiritual Youth for Reproduction Freedom. See also Series II for grid positions on the schematic maps. This series is arranged by format, then alphabetically.
Alice Cohan, from the Feminist Majority Foundation, and Loretta Ross, from the National Center for Human Rights Education and former program director of the Black Women's Health Imperative, served as the March's co-directors, and were responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations in the March office: managing the budget and internal communications, overseeing the databases and web site, responding to the media, and reporting to the core organizers. Ross also ran New Voices for Reproductive Justice, often traveling around the country to mobilize women of color. The national March office had a small staff of people, including an administrative director, an administrative assistant, outreach liaisons, delegations coordinators, and field organizers. There were also a handful of people working around the country, building grassroots support for the March outside of the Washington, DC, area. In the beginning stages of planning the March, there was a Principals Committee, which consisted of the leaders of the original four organizations: Kim Gandy (NOW), Gloria Feldt (Planned Parenthood Federation of America), Kate Michelman (NARAL Pro-Choice America), and Eleanor Smeal (Feminist Majority Foundation). The Principals Committee functioned as voting members within the March's organization. There was also a Steering Committee, which handled major policy and operational decisions. While some members may have changed during the planning of the March, at one point the Steering Committee included Alice Cohan, Connie Watts, Dennis Poplin, Eleanor Smeal, Elizabeth Toledo, Gloria Feldt, Jama Adams, Jennifer Stark, Kate Michelman, Kathy Spillar, Kim Gandy, Mary Jane Gallegher, Norma Gattsek, Olga Vives, Shelli Craver, Susanne Martinez, Terry O'Neill, Silvia Henriquez, Loretta Ross, and Linda Bowker. During the initial planning phase of the March, there were also several smaller subcommittees such as the Field Forces Committee, the Communications Committee, the Web Committee, and the Security Committee. In September of 2003, however, these subcommittees were folded into the Coordinating Committee, which oversaw the implementation and management of planning the March.
Many outreach events were held throughout the year before the March, including "Meet Up. Mobilize. March" gatherings. These events were organized through the internet; people signed up through the March's web site and formed local groups, called delegations, whose members would then meet in person to discuss promoting and attending the March. In order to coordinate these events around the country March organizers utilized a company called Meet Up, which provided a virtual platform to support on-line mobilization for the March. The company provided a registration database, email blasts, and the framework for March organizers to offer monthly events in other parts of the country. Other women's rights organizations were solicited to be co-sponsors, and were asked to encourage their members to join the March, or to organize delegations through "Meet Up. Mobilize. March." Student groups from colleges across the country were also urged to become co-sponsors and form delegations from their members, as well as to reach out to other students.
Funding for the March came from several sources. The seven host organizations were expected to donate both money and in-kind contributions, totaling at least $750,000 each, as well as to mobilize their state affiliates and chapters so as to expand participation in the March to other parts of the country. Organizations wishing to co-sponsor the March were required to donate $50,000, and to consequently prioritize promoting the March to their affiliates; in the end there were over 1000 co-sponsors. All organizations, both hosts and co-sponsors, were expected to provide a link to the March's web site on their own web sites so members could join delegations or volunteer. Several fundraising events were held as well, including one the night before the March. Grants were also obtained from the Joint Emergency Campaign and other funding sources; in addition, supplementary funds from NARAL Pro-Choice America were also acquired.
The March for Women's Lives featured many politicians and celebrity speakers including Gloria Steinem, Nancy Pelosi, Carol King, Holly Near, the Indigo Girls, Whoopi Goldberg, Ashley Judd, Madeleine Albright, Janeane Garofalo, Howard Dean, Margaret Cho, Tyne Daly, and Barbara Boxer. Although the actual count is not known, the organizers planned for 750,000 supporters, and some have estimated that 1.15 million people participated.
- Series I. Administration, 2001-2004, n.d. (#1.1-5.3)
- Series II. Logistics, 1988-2004, n.d. (#5.4-8.5)
- Series III. Outreach, 1997, 2003-2004, n.d. (#8.6-16.9)
- Series IV. Oversized and memorabilia, 2004, n.d. (#16.10m, F+D.1m-F+D.2, OD.1, SD.1, Mem.1)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The records of the March for Women's Lives were given to the Schlesinger Library by Alice Cohan in May 2004 and by Bonnie Howard in June 2012.
Accession number: 2004-M53
Processed by: Cat Lea Holbrook
The following items have been removed from the collection:
- White banner with purple text: "Save Women's Lives. March For Freedom of Choice. Sunday April 25, 2004. Washington, DC. Meet up. Mobilize. March. WWW.MarchforChoice.org." 11' x 3'.
- Purple and gold banner with white text: "Choice. Justice. Access. Health. Abortion. Global. Family Planning. March for Women's Lives. Washington, DC. April 25, 2004. Press Check In." 11' x 3'.
- Purple and gold banner with white text: "Choice. Justice. Access. Health. Abortion. Global. Family Planning. March for Women's Lives. Washington, DC. April 25, 2004. American Civil Liberties Union, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health." 33 3/4' x 9 3/4'.
By: Cat Lea Holbrook with assistance from Dan Bullman.
- Abortion services--Law and legislation--United States
- Abortion--Government policy--Citizen participation
- Abortion--Law and legislation--United States
- Abortion--Moral and ethical aspects--United States
- Abortion--Political aspects--United States
- Abortion--United States
- African American feminists
- African American women civil rights workers
- African American women political activists
- African American women--Health and hygiene
- African American women--Social conditions
- Birth control--Law and legislation--United States
- Birth control--United States
- Bumper stickers
- Civil rights demonstrations--Washington (D.C.)
- Communication in organizations
- Constitutional amendments--United States
- Demonstrations--Washington (D.C.)
- Feminism--United States
- Feminists--United States
- Group decision making
- Hispanic American feminists
- Hispanic American women
- Hispanic Americans--Social conditions
- Judges--Selection and appointment--United States
- Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)
- Minority women--United States
- Political activists
- Press releases
- Pro-choice movement--United States
- Pro-life movement--United States
- Protest movements--United States
- Reproductive health--United States
- Reproductive rights--United States
- Volunteers--United States
- Web sites
- Web sites--Design
- Women's health services--Law and legislation
- Women's rights--United States
- Women--Health and hygiene
- Women--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States
- Women--Social conditions
- Women--Social networks--United States
- Women--United States--Social conditions--21st century
- March for Women's Lives (Association). Records of the March for Women's Lives, 1988-2004 (inclusive), 2003-2004 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Radcliffe College Class of 1956, the Radcliffe College Class of 1968, the Robert and Maurine Rothschild Fund, the Jane Rainie Opel Fund, and the Zetlin Sisters Fund.
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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