Zak, Anne (interviewee)

Anne Zak oral history with Sharon Gensler and Aimee Brown (Bir), interview 3, March 12, 2000

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Recording index

(00:00:07) - Introductions

(00:00:42) - Graduate work at UMass

(00:01:30) - Experiences living in Wendell, MA; establishing links within the lesbian community

(00:04:28) - How the town of Wendell drew many lesbians to live there

(00:08:15) - In the mid-1970s, Zak was offered a job at a women’s center called Women’s Works in Athol, MA; discussion of the argument within the National Organization of Women (NOW) about working with and allowing lesbians within its ranks

(00:10:39) - Further discussion of Women’s Works and how women’s centers developed out of community needs in the 1970s

(00:12:18) - Men’s responses and perceptions of women-only spaces

(00:13:15) - Projects with Women’s Works, including the Wendell Women’s Music Festival; more on men’s challenges to women-only events

(00:15:24) - Women’s music in Western Massachusetts; a list of some musical artists and bands

(00:17:15) - The building and development of houses and the women’s community in Wendell; collective building projects and education on building and sustainable forms of energy, solar energy, for example

(00:22:13) - Development of state funded domestic violence programs, whereas women’s communities had been responsible for working with and helping survivors of domestic violence

(00:24:00) - Formation of NELCWIT, the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition

(00:26:45) - The closing of Women’s Works

(00:29:25) - Zak transitions from working with NELCWIT to involvement with environmental activism; moving from working with primarily women around the women’s movement to organizing with men in environmental actions; bringing feminism into environmental politics

(00:31:40) - Perspectives on separatism, and working with men in environmentalism as an opportunity to think about separatist politics

(00:32:47) - Working with People’s Projection; Zak buys the Wendell Country Store

(00:34:00) - Being the only business owner in Wendell; the Wendell Country Store as a center for lesbian activity and organizing around the struggle against Route 2

(00:37:58) - The founding of the Full Moon Coffeehouse in January 1985

(00:39:08) - Establishing the Wendell Lesbian Library

(00:40:30) - Lesbians active in Wendell politics; Zak was elected to the Wendell Select Board in 1990

(00:44:06) - Zak’s experiences on the Wendell Select Board

(00:46:36) - Formation of the Greater Wendell Women’s Alliance; the Women’s Pentagon Action (November 17, 1980)

(00:49:06) - Involvement in Greater Wendell Women’s Alliance; the beginning of Esperanza, an organization devoted to working on political issues involving Central America

(00:49:55) - Zak holds big parties at the Wendell pond, and they become a tradition for five years

(00:55:35) - Zak opens up about her personal life during this time, further bouts of depression, and her relationship with her family

(00:59:56) - Zak reconciles with her family and opens up to them about being molested as a child

(01:07:39) - Zak confronts the uncle who molested her

(01:14:17) - Breast cancer diagnosis in 1989

(01:16:24) - Zak’s endeavors in recent years; relocation to Florida

(01:19:05) - Zak begins a new career in mediation

(01:20:57) - Zak speaks on the importance of the work of the Valley Women’s History Collaborative

(01:23:00) - Zak as a “woman of the land,” tending gardens, greenhouses, orchards, and farm animals

(01:32:09) - Timeline of lesbians moving into Wendell

Wendell (Mass.)
01:33:28; audiocassette
Gensler, Sharon
Brown, Aimee "Bir"
Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
MS 531
Requests to publish, redistribute, or replicate this material should be addressed to the Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.
Cite as:
Zak, Anne. Anne Zak oral history with Sharon Gensler and Aimee Brown (Bir), interview 3, March 12, 2000. Valley Women's History Collaborative Records (MS 531). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
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