I am so honored that Bettina Aptheker wrote a book cover blurb for MARIE EQUI: Radical Politics & Outlaw Passions. She has been an extraordinary activist since the 1960s when she was one of three main organizers of the legendary and revolutionary Free Speech Movement in Berkeley. She fought for civil rights in the South, protested the Vietnam War, and helped lead the legal defense of Angela Davis. Aptheker was born into a family prominent in the Communist Party, and she engaged the Communist cause for much of her youth and early adulthood. The subtitle of her autobiography Intimate Politics says it all: “How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became A Feminist Rebel.” Aptheker’s journey reveals a woman of extraordinary courage, fierce commitment, and intellectual acuity. (I read the 550 pages of her story in just a few sittings – it was literally too riveting to stop).
Aptheker is a professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she has taught one of the country’s largest and most influential Introduction to Feminist Studies courses for thirty years. She lives in Santa Cruz with her longtime partner, Kate Miller.
Here’s what she wrote for MARIE EQUI:
Michael Helquist has written a marvelous biography of Marie Equi. With meticulous archival research, and access to oral histories he has told the story of this generous, passionate, and complicated woman in a respectful and dignified way that Dr. Equi herself would undoubtedly have appreciated. She contributed to the wellbeing of so many as a doctor, a supporter of workers especially those in the IWW, an advocate of woman suffrage, and an opponent of World War I, for which she paid dearly when she was incarcerated at San Quentin. She was an ‘out’ lesbian at a time when few were. In this well-written, accessible biography of so extraordinary a personage Helquist has made a splendid contribution to both feminist and lesbian history.