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Feminism, the Left, and Postwar Literary Culture$
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Kathlene McDonald

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617033018

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617033018.001.0001

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Salt of the Earth and the Cold War Erasure of a Left Feminist Culture

(p.2) (p.3) Introduction
Feminism, the Left, and Postwar Literary Culture

Kathlene McDonald

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter focuses on Salt of the Earth, a film produced by a group of blacklisted filmmakers based on the true story of a sixteen-month strike against Empire Zinc. The film’s screenplay emphasized the essential role that women played in the strike; it showed female community members insisting that domestic issues be included in the strike demands and how they assumed leadership roles in the union. By putting a strong female activist at the center of the film, it not only showed the importance of women’s role in the mineworkers’ struggle, but also challenged the dominant image of women in 1950s mainstream culture as the housewife at the center of a nuclear family. In an era dominated by films depicting Communism as an evil and marriage as the ultimate goal for women, Salt of the Earth was a cultural triumph.

Keywords:   blacklisted filmmakers, Empire Zinc, domestic issues, strong female activist, cultural triumph

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