Many of the hours of interviews with key activists from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) collected for REBELS WITH A CAUSE simply would not fit into that film.  Freedom is Contagious includes interviews related to the women’s movement that are in REBELS but most is additional new material from the original interviews.  Freedom is Contagious weaves stories together to form a coherent whole, accompanied by graphics and photos from the period.

Freedom is Contagious explores the early history (1965-9) of the women’s movement that grew in the 1960s and 1970s, focusing especially on the interconnections with SDS.  The video focuses on events and the thinking behind all the events, including the impact on men and their reactions.  The video includes:


• Reminiscences of what it was like to be a woman in the early sixties. 

• Casey Hayden speaking about the memo often called “Sex & Caste” that she & Mary King sent to a number of women in SDS and SNCC (Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee) in the late fall of 1965, as well as an earlier memo presented at the SNCC Waveland meeting. These make the connection between the civil rights movement and equality for women. 

• The intense and important discussion among many of the women present at the December 1965 SDS National Council meeting, inspired by Casey’s paper. 

• The formation of women’s groups.

• An early SDS women’s anti-draft demonstration in Texas — before the beginning of the women’s movement.

• The role of women within SDS. 

• The influence of Vietnamese women on American activists. 

• The ‘women’s resolution’ which was introduced, debated, and finally adopted – not without contention — at SDS’s annual convention in 1967. 

• Some differences that later grew within the women’s movement about what direction it should take — especially whether to work within the antiwar movement or to focus on women’s issues. 

• The role of the FBI and COINTELPRO within the women’s movement.


Featuring: Jane Adams, Carolyn Craven, Carl Davidson, Bernardine Dohrn, Alice Embree, Carol Glassman, Casey Hayden, Sharon Jeffrey Lehrer, Steve Max, Judy Schiffer Perez, Bob Ross, Vivian Leburg Rothstein, Mike Spiegel, Elizabeth Stanley, Marilyn Salzman Webb, and Cathy Wilkerson.

(For more information on people, see the Biographies section of the website.)

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