Change the Name! A Critical Case Study Analysis of The September 29th Movement

Date
2017-03-03
Authors
Harris, L. Wesley
McKen, Alade
Camarillo, Nancy
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Abstract

Though many in the Iowa State University community celebrated the renaming of Old Botany Hall to Carrie Chapman Catt Hall, a group of students pushed to reopen the naming process because of how Carrie Lane Chapman Catt aligned herself with white supremacists during her campaign to win women’s suffrage. The September 29th Movement was an intersectional, student-led initiative “dedicated to the elimination of racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, and classism at Iowa State University, recognizing that changing the name of Catt Hall, a symbol of exclusion, must be the first step in that struggle.” The group took its name from the date “September 29, 1995,” which was when they published an essay about Carrie Lane Chapman Catt in Uhuru!, the newsletter of Iowa State University Black Student Alliance. The essay entitled “The Catt is out of the Bag: Was she racist?” raised issues of racism within the women’s suffrage movement and questioned whether Carrie Lane Chapman Catt was racist. Though the name Catt Hall remains, students forced the university to make significant changes through their organizing efforts. Our case study chronicles the legacy of The September 29th Movement.

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