This Week in Princeton History for April 22-28

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Earth Day is observed for the first time, professors hold a rummage sale to raise money for the ambulance corps in France, and more.

April 22, 1970—Princeton Ecology Action leads the University’s first celebration of Earth Day.

Princeton Ecology Action’s 1970 Earth Day program. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 26.

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“We Envision a World Where the Night Belongs to No One”: Intersectionality and Take Back the Night

By Mario Garcia ’18

“I’m white, I’m male, I’m middle class,” he said. “This isn’t supposed to happen to me.” On the evening of April 26, 1989, hundreds of students listened to their peer’s testimony as a part of Princeton University’s third annual Take Back the Night march. As one of many speakers throughout the night sharing their experiences with sexual harassment and sexual assault, the student related to the crowd that he had been raped by his stepfather as a child. Echoing the sentiments of many female students at Princeton, he added that he no longer felt safe in his own home.

During the 1991 march, a speaker argued that women of color face this threat of sexual violence systemically as a manifestation of racism: “Rape is the crudest and most direct form of racism. You can’t separate it from the culture of domination, violence and exploitation and women of color are stuck at the bottom of that culture.” Her words concerning sexual violence serve as a testament to his: in a culture of domination over marginalized peoples, privileged individuals are not supposed to face the threat of sexual violence to the extent that marginalized individuals do. Feminist theorist Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” to describe the ways different kinds of oppression come together and compound the experience of marginalization. Multiple types of oppression involving multiple marginalized identities interact with sexual violence.

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Flyers, 1990-1993, Women’s Center Records (AC248), Box 13.

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