Oral history interview with Cathy Cade, 2002


Cade, Cathy, 1942- (Interviewee)
Michaels, Sheila, 1939-2017 (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Cathy Cade, 2002
Other Titles
Reminiscences of Cathy Cade, 2002; Oral history of Cathy Cade, 2002
Cade begins the interview by describing her upper-middle class, Midwestern, Unitarian family. Cade cites the reactions of adults towards her Black doll as her earliest memory of racism, and points to her admiration of a friend's independent, working-class mother as an initial exposure to class difference. Cade goes on to describe her move to the suburbs of Chicago. Cade first heard of the civil rig hts movement during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. A ninth grader at the time, Cade discussed the boycott with her Unitarian youth group and saw the play "A Raisin in the Sun." Cade also describes her memories of the integration of Little Rock Central High. Cade describes her experiences at Carleton College and her decision to attend Spelman College in the spring of 1962. Cade remembers sitting-in at the Georgia State Legislature with Howard Zinn and attending Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) meetings while at Spelman. Cade began working full-time for Atlanta SNCC in the summer of 1963. She describes her work in Alabama and Gulfport, Mississippi in 1964. In the fall of 1964, Cade began attending graduate school at Tulane University in New Orleans. She describes life in the apartments of Professor Ed Kavinsky and a picket against racist campus businesses. In the summer of 1965, Cade participated in a voter registration and education project in New Orleans 4th Ward led by Matt Suarez. In 1966 and 1967, Cade conducted doctoral research in the black community of Canton, Mississippi. Cade describes a group of women that began to meet at that same time to discuss feminist issues, including Dottie (Dorothy) Zellner, Mary Lovelace, and Jeanette King. In the final part of the interview, Cade recalls her experience as a lesbian in San Francisco in the 1970s. Cade discusses previous exposure to the gay community, Women's Liberation meetings at Glide Memorial Church, and interracial marriages
Collection Name
Sheila Michaels civil rights organization oral history collection
Civil rights--Religious aspects--20th century; Civil rights movements--History--20th century.--United States; Civil rights workers--History--20th century.--Louisiana; Second-wave feminism; Lesbians--California; United States Race relations 20th century; Cade, Cathy, 1942-; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.); Spelman College; Carleton College (Northfield, Minn.)
oral histories
Physical Description
81 pages
Note (Biographical)
Cathy Cade is a prominent political photographer and activist. Cade was born in 1942 to a Midwestern family, and is the oldest of five children. She lived for a time in the suburbs of Chicago. In 1957, Cade's family relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, wh ere she attended Central High School. She attended Carleton College in Minnesota in the fall of 1959 and Spelman College through the domestic exchange program in 1962. At Spelman, Cade joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Upon graduating from Carleton, Cade served at the Atlanta SNCC office before continuing her studies as a graduate student at Tulane University. Cade continued to contribute to the civil rights movement throughout her time in New Orleans and formed a women's group before moving to San Francisco. Cade is best known for her portrayal of lesbian motherhood and the lesbian activist scene, chronicled in her book "A Lesbian Photo Album: The Lives of Seven Lesbian Feminists" (Waterwomen Books, 1987). At the time of this interview, Cade was residing in Berkeley, California
Interviewed by Sheila Michaels on January 31, 2002
Note (Provenance)
Sheila Michaels, Gift circa 1998-2005
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
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Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Time-Based Media
Time-Based Media
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