Public memorial meeting planned for Gloria Martin


By Alison Thorne MELBOURNE — A memorial meeting celebrating the life of Gloria Martin, author, civil rights activist and women's movement leader, will be held on February 25. Martin died of cancer in Seattle, USA, on November 22. A working mother of eight children, Martin was born and raised in the segregated south, where she became an outspoken critic of racism, sexism and capitalism. In the 1950s, she worked with the Congress of Racial Equality and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to end racial segregation in the north-west. In the 1960s, she organised with welfare recipients at Central Area Motivation Program and worked for several anti-poverty projects in Seattle. She was also a key leader in mobilisations of low-income women for abortion rights, divorce reform and unionisation. Martin was a galvanising force in feminism, an early advocate of lesbian and gay rights and a political bridge between the old and new left. In 1968, she co-founded Radical Women with Clara Fraser and young feminists from Students for a Democratic Society. A leader of the Freedom Socialist Party, Martin also authored Socialist Feminism: The First Decade, 1966-76, an account of the party's early years. Martin spent her last week surrounded by her large family and many of those whose lives she so profoundly impacted upon. The memorial meeting will be held at 4pm, Sunday, February 25, at the Solidarity Salon, 1 Appleby Crescent, West Brunswick. Comrades, friends and community activists will honour through poetry, music and political tributes, followed by a southern US-style buffet featuring Gloria Martin's favourite foods. Remembrances may be sent to Red Letter Press for the Gloria Martin Memorial Publications Fund, PO Box 266, West Brunswick, Vic 3055. For more information, call (03) 9386 5065.