Leslee Nelson

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Memory Cloth — The Sting

In 1969 NO women artists were included in the Janson Art History textbook.  Several women students and art faculty began meeting once a week to search the library for the hidden history of women in art.  I was thrilled to discover a 1913 book- lavender cover with a lovely painting of a woman in a garden wearing white, it was 1 ½ inches thick!  Inside were lists of woman artists- hundreds of names and dates- but no pictures or other information.
How frustrating!

In 1982 I was surprised to read a MS magazine article on the Freedom of Information Act about the FBI infiltration of 60s radical groups. There on the list of groups with an informant was our little artist research group!

Thinking back I remembered one woman who we’d thought was crazy.  She’d suggested bombing the newspaper sales boxes for being sexist. No one wanted to.  She brought cocaine once.  None of us had done it or had any idea where you could get it.  She also knew who to contact to get pistol lessons at the Black Panthers’ secret shooting range.  She needed me to go with her.   Before the Panthers let me begin I had to pass a review on my radical credentials.  After the call that I’d passed, I was supposed to call back to get the location.  I never called.  Thinking more carefully about it I knew I was too much of a pacifist to actually shoot anyone.

Soon after that - she stopped coming to the meetings. 
I didn’t think much about it at the time.


made 06/6/06 transparent recalling Fall 1969

My Brother/My parents



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