Revolutionary Women – Readings from the line

Walking in circles on the lines left some space and time in which we could reflect alone or debate with friends. It also

Photo Credit: tumblr_mngygmSZBF1rmdewso1_1280

Photo Credit: tumblr_mngygmSZBF1rmdewso1_1280

proved an interesting venue for book reading.  This project came about when a fellow MainGater’ was holding a book on the morning shift and I asked about the woman whose image was stenciled on the page she was reading. This page was in “Revolutionary Women”, a book borrowed from the Main Gate Library(see description here). She started to explain, stopped, then said “Why don’t I just read it aloud?”.  From there three of us took turns to read different women in the book as we walked around and around – an experience both intimate and worldly; connecting our experience to the broader world.  While only a few women’s histories were read that day, I later asked other individuals to read their own choice from Revolutionary Women, with the goal of reading all featured in the book.

These readings on the line inspired me and I often gasped in a shocked glee at the audacity and fearlessness of these women. Their stories spoke to me, deeper likely because of the situation that led me to stumble upon them. There was irony too, in that their stories included labour movements and here I, and many others, were facing the same thing a decade or more later. But I also gained strength from their stories. As I reflected on these powerful and unrelenting women, so committed to creating a fair and just world, I came to realize that within the leadership of our own union local many of the strongest, most outspoken and action-oriented members were women. And so now, here we are in the 21st century with women continuing to create their own stories of standing for justice – and now these historic women’s stories and my own are now interwoven within them.

What comes below are the recordings of Main Gate picketers both on and off the line, reading about women who long before us challenged social issues that, unfortunately, are still faced today. Listen, learn and reflect on the connections between their stories of struggle and our own.


Emma Goldman – from the line

Nora Connelly O’Brien

Lucia Sanchez Saornil

Haydeé Santamaria Cuadrado

Anna Mae Aquash

Comandante Ramona

Sofia Vegara

Olive Morris


The women below were all read by individuals while actually on the line – unfortunately the sound quality was poor for many of them due to wind. I am attempting to salvage as many as I can, but for those I can’t I will have them re-read – stay tuned!

Rosa Luxemborg – coming soon!

Qui Jin – coming soon!

Harriet Tubman – coming soon!

Mother Jones – coming soon!

Lucy Parsons – coming soon!

Vandana Shiva – coming soon!

Assata Shakur – coming soon!

Angela Davis – coming soon!

Hannie Shaft – coming soon!

Bridgitte Monhaupt – coming soon!






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