Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Carolyn Eastman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Emilie Raymond, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Canfield, Ph.D.


Scholarship on social activism demonstrates a strange bifurcation when it comes to the subjects most extensively studied for different movements. Studies of movements in the 1960s often focus intently on student activism and young people's political consciousness. But attention to students is almost wholly lost when scholars' attention turns to the feminist movements of the 1970s, particularly the activism on both sides of the Equal Rights Amendment. Suddenly, scholars have focused almost exclusively on White, middle-class women, placing them at the center of their studies.

This thesis illuminates students' activist efforts at Virginia Commonwealth University—specifically, pro-ERA and Black civil rights movements. The pro-ERA movement in Richmond illustrates a rich and overlapping set of relationships between (mostly White) VCU students and the broader pro-ERA movement and that a similarly vital set of relationships tied (mostly Black) VCU students to regional civil rights movements—but that there was markedly little overlap between these two movements. This study reveals a vital narrative of VCU’s complicated history with race and gender and contributes new information to the significant national movements during this time.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Wednesday, May 05, 2027