Tag Archives: Austin

The Posters of Red River Women’s Press

by Alice Embree

Red River Women’s Press in Austin, Texas, was run by a collective of women printers, designers and artists.  Producing leaflets for the vibrant Austin resistance movement in the late 70s, the press was also  known  for stunning silk screened posters.  A gallery of those posters are shown here.

Justicia en el Campo, supporting the Texas Farmworkers, was produced in 1977.  The poster was designed by Kandy Littrell and Nancy Simons.

Four posters designed by Carlos Lowry were printed at the press for the Austin Committee for Human Rights in Chile, a solidarity organization that sponsored activities in Austin for more than a decade during the military dictatorship in Chile.  These were: The Battle of Chile showing at the Paramount Theatre, September 10, 1977; Inti-Illimani in concert at the Armadillo World Headquarters, April 23, 1978; Quilapayun in concert at the Armadillo World Headquarters, February 22, 1979; and Inti-Illimani in concert at the University of Texas Hogg Auditorium, April 13, 1980, appearing with an opening act by Conjunto Aztlan.

The poster featuring Anita Bryant, was created by the Red River Women’s Press Collective for a Festival of Life, a counter protest to Bryant’s anti-gay message, held at Auditorium Shores, May 7, 1979.

The poster about the Austin Boat Races, Make This Boat Race the Last Boat Race, publicized the demonstrations to defend Austin’s barrio, August 12 and 13, 1978.  The illustration shows Brown Beret leader Paul Hernandez being taking into police custody.

A poster about Lolita Lebron featured a poem by JoAnn Mulert.  The Oakland Museum of Art has this poster in their collection.




Austin Women Workers


The following text is taken from a 1975 leaflet of Austin Women Workers.

What is Austin Women Workers?

Austin Women Workers is an organization of women from all backgrounds who have come together to analyze and act on those problems in our society which most directly affect our lives. We are all workers although some of us are in the role of unpaid mothers and housekeepers.

We know that the struggle for women’s liberation is a revolutionary struggle because the realization of our demands will bring about a basic transformation in our society. We cannot settle for less than the possibility of engaging in meaningful and creative activity: the opportunity to develop those skills which will enable us to do useful work; adequate compensation for what we do; free, loving care for children; control over the reproductive processes; sexual self-determination for all women and especially for lesbians; the development of personal relationship based on mutual responsibility; and the power to make decisions about all areas of our lives. There will not be a revolution until these changes are made.

We also know that the liberation of women will not occur until all people are free. We do not intend to gain a greater degree of independence at the expense of other oppressed people. Therefore, we struggle against all forms of racism, capitalism, and imperialism. Our most important work is the creation of a society in which every person is provided with the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter; every person participates in the decision-making process; and every person is able to expand his or her consciousness to the fullest extent.

The first activity of Austin Women Workers was to join with women all over the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. We also worked with other local organizations in planning the demonstration against Rockefeller. Since that time we have organized around the issue of prostitution, distributing educational material and encouraging people to attend prostitution trials held in Austin. Another project has centered on organizing women in various workplaces throughout the city. We offer legal classes, distribute literature, and help women form ongoing organizations. Still another activity has been the formation of a women’s theater group which is currently performing Sugar and Spice and Nothing Nice and put on several performance of The Independent Female or A Man Has His Pride. Recently a lesbian caucus has formed with AWW whose initial activity was the formation of a consciousness-raising group.

The Women’s Cranky

The Women’s Cranky came to Austin courtesy of the Women’s Street Theater from the Bay Area in 1970. The instructions and graphics were published and distributed by People’s Press in San Francisco, California.   The Women’s Street Theater described the cranky this way:

A cranky is a paper movie or cartoon sequence inside a simple wooden frame. The moving paper roll unwinds (is cranked) onto a take-up reel, enabling you to tell a story with a minimum number of words and maximum number of strong images. THIS cranky is a brief history of women’s oppression and struggles. About how the myth of women’s inferiority began and has been perpetuated to oppress us, and about how women are refusing to submit to that HIS-STORY any longer. We, the Women’s Street Theater, wanted to share the script and directions… with all our sisters. …It’s been great at rallies, small meetings, in parks, on the back of flat bed trucks, and on the marble steps of the Pacific Stock Exchange. People love it. They laugh, get involved, and have always been eager to discuss it afterwards.

Here is how the Cranky starts:

In the beginning          [Cymbal clash followed by tambourine shake about 5 seconds]

Women were ALWAYS pregnant

The cranky was low-tech media. It took more time to draw the images onto a scroll of butcher paper than it takes to shoot and post a You Tube video. But it was a great device for introducing women’s liberation to a crowd. It was performed in the Student Union at the University of Texas at Austin, at the Oleo Strut GI coffeehouse in Killeen, Texas and many other places. With its compelling graphics and easy script, it made for lively street theater. It only took a handful of women – two to crank the story along, one to read, and the others to produce sound effects with tambourines, pots and pans, and kazoos. It should be remembered for its no-software, no-electricity-required, means of production. It never failed to draw a crowd and get them laughing along with a radical message about women’s liberation.