Suppressed Histories Archives -Home
A Home for the Suppressed Histories Archives
After flying without a net for 48 years, it is time to put ground under our feet and for the future of the Suppressed Histories Archives. I have been working extremely hard to get a down payment together for the house where the Archives lives, with Nava and me, and where it grows every day. This house is the right place for the Archives to be safeguarded. In three-plus years, I have managed to get together two thirds of the down payment, but need to make the buy soon while interest rates are low. (This will save tens of thousands of dollars over the long haul.) Gentrification is moving fast and time is of the essence, to finalize the buy while interest rates are still low.
The Suppressed Histories Archives is a collection of images (slides, hard copies, and digital), research texts, articles, visual talks and videos. Over the years, most of the work i’ve done has been unpaid. I’ve answered hundreds queries without asking for compensation, because I believe this information is important and must be known. Countless women (and men) have told me how important the work of the Archives is, and how there is really nothing quite like it. Women from many different ethnic backgrounds and countries have come to me looking for their free women, their heritages, for sources and resources.
This fundraiser is to raise the final third of the $60,000 down payment (and closing costs) for the house where the Archives lives. If more can be raised, we might be able to avoid paying mortgage insurance (which is for the bank, not for us as first-time home buyers). It is commonly required from low-income people. But once 20% of the principal is paid, i’m told, mortgage insurance is no longer required. The more of the principal that we can pay down now, while buying, the more secure we (and the Archives that we hold space for) will be.
This is not easy for a feminist activist who has functioned at the margins of the economy for my entire adult life, especially the part about getting a mortgage loan. Because the bulk of my work has been unpaid, I will receive very little in Social Security. So I will not be able to retire, but then, i plan to continue this work all my life anyway. My goal is to pay down the principal on the house as rapidly as i can so that when i'm 80, i will be able to reduce the monthly mortgage payments.
The long term plan is for the Archives to continue in this house after I am gone, and to become a public resource. I have no heirs, and this heritage belongs to all women, and all people. The Archives receives no funding other than what I am able to earn, and the occasional donation. We are in the process of applying for 501(c)3 non-profit status, but that will take a while. The house buy needs to happen in the next few months.
Up until now I have shouldered sole responsibility for the costs of housing the Archives, paying all web-hosting fees, and all expenses involved in archiving files, slides, and digital media. It’s time to crowdsource some of those expenses, so that I am freed up to pour out the resources I’ve gathered over the decades.
I am trying to keep this fundraiser as simple as possible, and so am not offering premiums this time. If you would like books, posters, dvds or prints, ordering them from Veleda Press will increase the income stream I’m already using to raise the down payment. Those purchases contribute to the goal, and so do subscriptions to my online course Treasures of Women’s History, which is like a Matreon for the Archives, or to my webcasts.
Most of all, I’m asking for donations plain and simple. The premium is the work itself, the body of resources which are being assembled digitally, in visual talks and videos, articles and books and posters. It is in open access web pages—and 8,000 new pages are going to be added to the Suppressed Histories site from the content blogged on the Facebook page.
I hope you find these resources of value, and contribute accordingly. The names of all donors (except those who want to remain anonymous) will be gratefully acknowledged and published.
Max Dashu, with Nava Mizrahhi
the Suppressed Histories Archives
First panel: At left, Essie Parrish, titled Yomta ("Song"), a roundhouse ceremonial leader, healer, and prophet of Water among the Kashaya Pomo, along the coast of north-central California, and last in a line of Pomo Dreamers. Center, Susie King Taylor, self-liberated woman in her Union Army nurse's uniform, who learned to read as a girl and used that skill to make life a little more navigable for her people (like writing out passes for people to leave the plantation). It was illegal to teach enslaved people to read and write, and Taylor made it her business to teach literacy wherever she went. Right, Teresa Urrea, healer, visionary and Indigenous rights activist who was the forerunner of the Mexican revolution and as such, exiled for her political influence by the dictator Porfirio Diaz, who called her "the most dangerous girl in Mexico."
Second panel: Left: Chand Bibi, a Muslim queen in western India, here shown hawking; she was a warrior who defended the Ahmednagar fort against the Mughal empire in 1595, and fended off their armies in other instances. And Kishida Toshiko, a feminist activist known for her fiery pull-no-punches speeches, like "Daughters in Boxes," for which she was arrested. One of her zingers was “If it is true that men are better than women because they are stronger, why aren't our sumo wrestlers in the government?”
Final panel: From left, a migrant laborer from Texas, for whom no name is recorded (which is par for the great majority of women's history); the Māori lady Ruruhira Ngakuira, in 19th century Aotearoa (New Zealand); and another unnamed woman of rank among the matrilineal Ashanti in Ghana.