Montage of Four Women

Brief portraits of four women who speak about their lives: a young poet, a gardener, a former social worker, and a doctor.

00:07Copy video clip URL Title card. 

00:13Copy video clip URL Maurine O’Connor, a young woman, speaks into a microphone about herself. The image starts out frozen, briefly. She speaks about “trying to be other people… trying to be other men, trying to be other women. And then it got real tiring for me. They got tired and I got tired.” 

00:50Copy video clip URL O’Connor reads a poem about her parents and “the life I come from… I left home about six years ago.” The poem discusses her romantic and sexual history, alcoholism, and her parents’ marriage. 

03:47Copy video clip URL An interview with Bea Whitman, a former social worker, who discusses the changes she’s seen in young people in her lifetime. “It’s all for the better. People now are thinking for themselves from the time that they’re small. We didn’t use to think for ourselves. We went to poppa and momma and poppa and momma told us what to think.”

05:15Copy video clip URL Floria Sherill speaks from a backyard garden. She shows the interviewer, a young woman, the flowers growing in her garden.

06:24Copy video clip URL Inside, Dr. Celia Jaramillo, who speaks about the importance of nature. She speaks with a strong accent. 

07:31Copy video clip URL Whitman discusses her life in which she got “most of [her] education… off the street and from people. Of course I was punished as soon as I got into social work. I was plunged right straight into prostitution and all kinds of vice.” 

08:11Copy video clip URL The separation between rich and poor. Being a radical and a Socialist in Berkeley, where there was a Socialist mayor. 

09:04Copy video clip URL Changes in how women are treated, including divorce. “Everything was in favor of men, instead of women.” Working as a probation officer and in the Woman’s Protective Bureau, which worked with women directly. Working with prisoners in San Quentin Prison. 

12:37Copy video clip URL O’Connor continues her reading. She reads a poem called “San Quentin Memories,” about her visit to an inmate in prison.

16:40Copy video clip URL Whitman, who is white, speaks about the Black Panthers and the larger revolutionary movement within the Black community. 

18:04Copy video clip URL On church: “I think churches are a miserable failure, one and all.” 

18:17Copy video clip URL Sherill speaks about letting other people be and about her garden. Her plants “are so much like children. You have to take care of them. And you have to feed them. You have to water them. You have to support them when they’re too feeble to stand up.” 

22:15Copy video clip URL Teaching kindergarten for 41 years. Further comparing caring for plants to caring for young children. 

22:52Copy video clip URL Jaramillo speaks about growing up and always being taught by men to remember her place and to prioritize pleasing men. 

23:38Copy video clip URL Sherill speaks about not trying to control or direct her plants, but rather trying to let them grow their own way. 

24:17Copy video clip URL End credits. Flora Sherill. Dr. Celia Jaramillo. Maurine O’Connor. Bea Whitman. Created by Susan Gage. With the help of: Cielo Arango, Sharon Frank, Karen Legault, Sheila Suarez, Julie Walker. 



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