Ti-Grace Atkinson

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Ti-Grace Atkinson
Grace Atkinson

(1938-11-09) November 9, 1938 (age 83)
  • Activist
  • writer
  • philosopher
Years active1968–1974
Organization The Feminists (1968–1971)
Movement Radical feminism
Charles Leeds Sharpless
(m. 1956;div. 1962)

Grace Atkinson (born November 9, 1938), better known as Ti-Grace Atkinson, is an American radical feminist activist, writer and philosopher. [2] [ page needed ]


Life and career

Atkinson was born into a prominent Louisiana family. Named after her grandmother, Grace, the "Ti" is Cajun French for petite, meaning "little". [3] [4]

Atkinson earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1964. While still in Philadelphia, she helped found the Institute of Contemporary Art, acting as its first director, and was sculpture critic for the periodical ARTnews . She later moved to New York City where, in 1967, she entered the PhD program in philosophy at Columbia University, where she studied with the philosopher and art critic Arthur Danto. [5]

Atkinson later moved on to study the work of Gottlob Frege with philosopher Charles Parsons. She taught at several colleges and universities over the years, including the Pratt Institute, Case Western Reserve University and Tufts University. [6]

As an undergraduate, Atkinson read Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex , and struck up a correspondence with Beauvoir, who suggested that she contact Betty Friedan. [7] Atkinson became an early member of the National Organization for Women, which Friedan had co-founded, serving on the national board, and becoming the New York chapter president in 1967. [8] Her time with the organization was tumultuous, including a row with the national leadership over her attempts to defend and promote Valerie Solanas and her SCUM Manifesto in the wake of the Andy Warhol shooting. [9]

In 1968, she left the organization because it would not confront issues like abortion and marriage inequalities. [5] She founded the October 17th Movement, which later became The Feminists, a radical feminist group active until 1973; however, she left the group in 1971. By then, she had written several pamphlets on feminism, was a member of the Daughters of Bilitis and was advocating specifically political lesbianism. [10] Her book Amazon Odyssey was published in 1974. [11]

In 1971, Patricia Buckley Bozell, a Catholic and conservative activist, slapped or attempted to slap (unclear if physical contact was actually made) Atkinson after the latter made what Mrs. Bozell described as "an illiterate harangue against the mystical body of Christ". The incident occurred on the platform of Catholic University of America's auditorium while Atkinson was discussing the virginity of the Virgin Mary. [12]

"Sisterhood", Atkinson famously said, [ when? ] "is powerful. It kills. Mostly sisters." [13] In 2013, Atkinson, along with Carol Hanisch, Kathy Scarbrough, and Kathie Sarachild, initiated "Forbidden Discourse: The Silencing of Feminist Criticism of 'Gender'", which they described as an "open statement from 48 radical feminists from seven countries". [14] In August 2014, Michelle Goldberg in The New Yorker described it as expressing their "alarm" at "threats and attacks, some of them physical, on individuals and organizations daring to challenge the currently fashionable concept of gender." [15]



Pamphlets and book chapters

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  1. 1 2 Collection: Papers of Ti-Grace Atkinson, 1938–2013, Harvard Library.
  2. Wilkinson, Sue; Kitzinger, Celia (1993). Heterosexuality: A Feminism and Psychology Reader. Sage Publications. ISBN   0-8039-8823-0.
  3. "An 'Oppressed Majority' Demands Its Rights", by Sara Davidson, Life Magazine , 1969. Retrieved February 16, 2008.
  4. David De Leon (1994). Leaders from the 1960s: A Biographical Sourcebook of American Activism. Greenwood Press. ISBN   0-313-27414-2.
  5. 1 2 Lynne E. Ford, "Ti-Grace Atkinson" entry, Encyclopedia of Women and American Politics, Infobase Publishing, January 1, 2009, pp. 40–41, accessed August 2013.
  6. "Ti-Grace Atkinson", Tufts University Philosophy Faculty page, Wayback Machine archive, accessed August 31, 2014.
  7. O'Dea, Suzanne. From Suffrage to the Senate: an encyclopedia of American women in politics, ABC-CLIO, Inc. 1999.
  8. Movement Chronology, Civil War-Present, wfu.edu. Accessed January 20, 2022.
  9. "Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. | The Dobkin Family Collection of Feminism". www.glennhorowitz.com. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014.
  10. Kate Bedford and Ara Wilson Lesbian Feminist Chronology: 1971–1976 Archived 2007-07-17 at the Wayback Machine
  11. Linda J. LeMoncheck (1997). Loose Women, Lecherous Men: a feminist philosophy of sex . Oxford University Press. p.  229. ISBN   0-19-510555-9. Amazon Odyssey Grace Atkinson 1974.
  12. "SISTER OF BUCKLEYS SLAPS AT FEMINIST". The New York Times. March 12, 1971.
  13. Faludi, Susan (April 15, 2013). "Death of a Revolutionary". The New Yorker.
  14. Forbidden Discourse: The Silencing of Feminist Criticism of 'Gender'", at Meeting Ground online, August 12, 2013, updated with more signatures September 20, 2013.
  15. Michelle Goldberg, "What Is a Woman? The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism", The New Yorker , August 4, 2014.