Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 48

SPECIAL SEC TION
This is the third in a series of
articles celebrating the centennial
of the ratification of the 19th
Amendment. The D.C. Bar pays
homage to the countless women
and supporters of the decadeslong suffrage movement whose
persistence and sacrifice changed
the course of history.

The Revolutionary

CRYSTAL EASTMAN
By Tracy Schorn

C

rystal Eastman was a feminist ahead of her time -
suffragist, journalist, attorney, co-author of the Equal
Rights Amendment, a founder of the ACLU, and selfproclaimed "militant idealist." Eastman worked on politics
and ideas in the 1910s that are still revolutionary today.
In 2000 she was inducted into the National Women's Hall
of Fame, yet today she is still one of the most overlooked
feminist leaders in U.S. history.

Courtesy of Amy Aronson

Fordham University professor
Amy Aronson seeks to change
that with her latest book, Crystal
Eastman: A Revolutionary Life, the
first full-length biography of the
feminist once labeled as "the
most dangerous woman in
America."
"When I first encountered
Eastman's writing, I was struck
by what seemed to me a voice
calling ahead of itself - a
woman trying to live a life she
was also trying to usher into
possibility. It stayed with me.
In fact, it would not let me go,"
Aronson says in an interview
with Washington Lawyer. "Her
Professor Amy Aronson
restlessness with single-issue
politics spoke to me. Her effort
to bring people and movements together, to organize for a common cause,
inspired me - and it still does."
Despite being an innovator and a central player in many of the defining
social justice movements of her time, Eastman "has been largely lost to
public memory," says Aronson. "Up to now, she has only really been commemorated by a paradox: She has been known as 'the most neglected
feminist leader of the 20th century.'"
Here, Aronson talks more about Eastman's pioneering work and enduring
legacy.

48 WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MAY 2020

Given the amazing contributions of Crystal Eastman, why do you
suppose she hasn't been better known? In Gloria Steinem's review
of your book, she called Eastman "a best friend we didn't know."
In trying to piece together Eastman's story, I realized there's a connection
between the very volume of her political contributions and her relative
obscurity in history. She spent her life trying to confederate those various
social justice struggles. She wanted to forge ties among shared experiences
of injustice and inequality. She talked about gender with the socialists and
the antimilitarists, about class and race, internationalism, and also maternalism with the feminists. She tried to steer under the banners of multiple
movements at once, reaching to link organizational agendas and collective
actions all under one vast emancipatory rubric.
That lifelong mission is at the heart of the paradox of her disappearance.
Eastman's commitment to multiple social movements blurred her public
image and her status in organizations - it made her less recognizable to
people, even to scholars, especially over time. For all the ways her politics
aimed to unite people, it also helped make her an iconoclast or gadfly
within virtually every social movement she knew. Her persistent crossmovement ambition ultimately vexed her position within the array of
social change organizations she saw as her collective political home.
Eastman came from progressive stock, her mother being an ordained
Congregational minister in upstate New York. Did she make an interesting subject because she was spared a conventional upbringing?
Eastman's family dynamics are fascinating! She was the only daughter in
what was a virtually unprecedented feminist family. In the household, the
Eastman children rotated tasks without regard to gender, so her brothers
made beds and she did her share of the wood-chopping and outdoor
chores. Her mother, Annis Ford Eastman, was ordained in 1890 and
became a "woman minister" of some renown, and a suffragist. Ultimately,
her mother was the better breadwinner in the family, but her father,
Samuel Eastman, refitted himself to an unfamiliar model of masculinity
and family - he became the man his unconventional wife and his
children needed him to be. To a notable degree, he shared responsibility
for both income and childcare. Crystal would push for this model of
shared responsibility for work and family her entire life - really one
of the only feminists of her generation to focus on that.
Crystal utterly adored her mother; [her] final essay was titled "MotherWorship." That immense maternal relationship could not help but shape
Crystal's sensibility, and it had striking, provocative consequences throughout
her personal and her political life. It profoundly shaped her story by forging
the spirit of a woman who would recognize no limits to what she might do,



Washington Lawyer - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - May 2020

LETTER TO MEMBERS ON COVID-19 CRISIS
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
ABA DELEGATE’S CORNER
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS OF LAW
DIGITAL JUSTICE
ADVANCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS C AUSE ACROSS BORDERS
TAKING THE STAND
ON FURTHER REVIEW
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
SPEAKING OF ETHICS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: THE REVOLUTIONARY C RYSTAL EASTMAN
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - LETTER TO MEMBERS ON COVID-19 CRISIS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 8
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ABA DELEGATE’S CORNER
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS OF LAW
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - DIGITAL JUSTICE
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ADVANCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS C AUSE ACROSS BORDERS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - TAKING THE STAND
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - SPEAKING OF ETHICS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: THE REVOLUTIONARY C RYSTAL EASTMAN
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 52
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover4
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