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Making Waves

Making Waves

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Grassroots Feminism in Duluth and Superior

Author Elizabeth Ann Bartlett

Minnesota Historical Society Press (September 1, 2016)


A vital history of the groups and individuals who put Duluth and Superior at the forefront of pioneering and innovative feminist organizing.


Beginning in the late 1970s, a wave of feminist organizing broke on the shores of the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin. Its impact has transformed the lives of women and men in these communities and far beyond. Beginning with one of the first rape crisis programs and battered women’s shelters in the nation, pioneering organizations sprang up all over Duluth and Superior to provide services and advocacy, raise awareness, and effect change on a wide range of women’s issues.

Making Waves presents the histories of ten innovative grassroots feminist organizations to paint an overall picture of feminist activism in the Twin Ports over the last forty years. Through the voices of the women who formed and developed them, the book tells how these organizations began, their struggles and their triumphs, their lessons and their legacies. Author Elizabeth Ann Bartlett shows that a combination of factors—the small-town community, the presence of key movers and shakers, the influence of the Anishinaabe, the proximity to Lake Superior and the northern wilderness, and a heritage of progressive organizing—all contributed to the rise and flourishing of these prominent feminist organizations in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Author information

Elizabeth Ann Bartlett is a professor of women’s studies at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She moved to Duluth in 1980 and has been an active member of the feminist community there ever since. She is the author of four previous books and dozens of articles and papers.

Reviews and news

In the Media:


Duluth News Tribune

Duluth Budgeteer

Me, You, and Books Blog

Q & A with Beth Bartlett

Advance Praise:

“This book is simply remarkable. Dr. Bartlett’s accomplished research provides true evidence of what women have intuitively known for centuries: When united around a call to action and a sense of place, we create powerful change. And our communities are so much better because of it.”
Emily Larson, Duluth Mayor

Making Waves portrays with intimate detail an astonishing array of grassroots feminist organizations in communities surrounding the Duluth Harbor at the tip of Lake Superior. . . . Beth Bartlett’s fine-grained study shows us that we are only beginning to understand the rich feminist ferment that has changed—and continues to change—the world we live in.”
Sara M. Evans, author, Tidal Wave: How Women Changed America at Century’s End

Making Waves is a creatively researched and heartening story that, in Beth Bartlett’s identification and acknowledgement of the foundations of traditional Ojibwe values and womanhood, rides the crest of Third Wave feminism to the intersectional fourth.”
Linda LeGarde Grover, Associate Professor, Department of American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota Duluth

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 342 pages
  • Endnotes, Index, Bibliography
  • 6x9 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681340111

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