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Breakthrough 1976-08
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Breakthrough 1976-08 - Page 3. August 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 14, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3208/show/3190.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(August 1976). Breakthrough 1976-08 - Page 3. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3208/show/3190

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Breakthrough 1976-08 - Page 3, August 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 14, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3208/show/3190.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Compound Item Description
Title Breakthrough 1976-08
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date August 1976
Description Vol. 1 No. 7
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 20 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332726~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 3
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_519c.jpg
Transcript CAM exhibit of Suzanne Paul's photographs taken by Paul after flood water level receded. Flood destroys museum By Janice Blue Astrologer Betty Sue Green looked at her daughter's chart early last June and told her not to make any plans until after the 17th. "I don't know what's going to happen but it has to do with water," she said. Her daughter, Joannie Whitebird, is curator of Poetry and Performing Arts at the Contemporary Arts Museum. CAM's director, James Harithas, received a similar reading and warning from Green and is said to have told the museum's board, "We are not making any plans until after the 17th on the advice of my astrologer." And then it happened. On June 15 the Contemporary Arts Museum was complete ly destroyed by flood waters. Over 600,000 gallons of rain and sewage water swept down CAM's delivery ramp rising to nearly 10 feet in the lower level of the gallery, the area which housed the art collections and archives, and the museum offices, classrooms and bookstore. It all began around 4:00 in the afternoon. A wall clock found floating the next day had stopped at 4:45. Whitebird talked about being spared the trauma of witnessing the actual destruction of the museum. "I'm a poet-l couldn't have stood it." The staff who experienced it was "completely heroic" in Whitebird's words. Everyone frantically tried to save original works of art. At one point they opened a trap door leading from the upper to the lower gallery and some dove into the water to retrieve art pieces, passing them to staff on the upper level. "Harithas and those on the lower level risked their lives because they were swimming in water covering electrical circuits torn out of the wall," she said. The only non-cement wall in the warehouse space tore into shreds from the onslaught of water. The dance floor in the classroom buckled and burst from the strength of another wave. And thirty foot crates, storing paintings and sculpture, bounced off the walls while the staff tried valiantly to rescue the art and to avoid getting injured in the darkness. Poet Whitebird came to the museum the next morning and described the scene of disaster. Citizens march on City Hall "Is flood control a woman's issue?" a reporter asked a woman member of Citizens for Flood Control for Harris County as the group of 70 marched in broiling sun in front of City Hall recently. "You'd better believe it," she said emphatically. "Most of us are homemakers. Guess who has to clean up after the home is filled with muddy, filthy water?" It's still considered women's work to remove the mud, worms and dead snakes to restore the house to liveable conditions. And months later the women are still scrubbing off the mildew. The women, their husbands and children were protesting the lack of adequate drainage and the lack of responsiveness of city and county governments to the problem of flood control. Some of the residents said their homes had flooded more than four times in three years. In the most recent flooding on June 15--almost a year to the date of the last major flood--the Pleasantville area, Medical Center and Contemporary Arts Museum areas received extensive damage. The citizen demonstrators say they have made appeals to local government officials but the story always comes back "it will take at least three years to begin digging" and that's only in Sims Bayou, the area allocated $15 million in last September's bond election. Prominent among the demonstrators was Helen Hopkins who had led a three-year effort to obtain flood control for Sims Bayou. After the June 15 flood, Hopkins received calls from neighbors and friends all over Houston asking her what they could do to get the attention of local officials. She reminded them that a mass meeting, calling for similar action, on June 23, 1975-which attracted almost 500 angry and distressed homeowners-had almost no affect on public officials. "This kind of non-reaction was what prompted me to run for Frank Mancuso's city council seat last year," she said. Hopkins gave incumbent Mancuso a good race, polling nearly 40% of the votes. So this year, again, Hopkins began recruiting individuals and contacting groups whom she felt would be sympathetic to taking part in a citizens assembly which she stresses is "a first amendment right." That is how the City Hall demonstration, which was held July 24, got started. "The problem which exists here in Houston and in Harris County is one of failure of the city to provide proper drainage as the city grew," Hopkins outlines. The city encouraged growth and building permits were issued before proper drainage was checked out according to Helen Hopkins. The demonstrators had strong words for E.B. Cape, Director of Public Works, whom they feel, through either "incompetence" or "indifference," allowed this disaster to happen. And, Hopkins warns "We are looking at a real disaster. Early in the 1900's, over two- thirds of the county was under flood waters. With the incredible rate of building and four to six feet of subsidence (sinkage) since that time, a Carla in 1976 would mean water on the second floor at City Hall." It was apparent to most of the citizens leaving the demonstration that that would be the only way to get attention to the problem-and that might be too late. JOANNIE WHITEBIRD "It was still and dark. The water was waist deep. We were all coughing from breathing the toxic sewer water and getting bruised from bumping into file cabinets and broken crates. At one point or another, everyone broke down and cried." The museum scrapbook from 1946 was the first thing she came upon in the mud. Then she picked up Terry Allen's framed paper collage, only to have the work disintegrate. She was left holding the frame. Whitebird remembers very little after that, except being taken to a doctor where she and all the staff had tetanus shots. She was hospitalized soon after that. All of her hospital expenses were paid by the museum. Whitebird speaks warmly of the relationship amongst staff members, something like that of a "museum family" with Margaret Prince, CAM's assistant director (who had been with the museum over 10 years)^almost the matriarchal figure. The curators and other staff members, like brothers and sisters, have their differences, Whitebird says, but are bound together by their deep feelings for the museum. And Harithas, she feels, is fair and democratic in his role as museum director. "I feel especially sorry for Harithas," Joannie Whitebird says. "He lost his entire art collection and art library. To an artist, that is his life." He was overheard on the phone saying to someone, "I've got an I. Rice Perrera that melted into a Dorothy Hood." Strangely, only four objects were not damaged in the flood: Harithas' cow skull which to him, an Easterner, represented Texas; his mirror cross by artist Forrest Prince which never left the wall; and a set of fragile, spun-glass keys given to Harithas by Yoko Ono. The other article to survive the flood was Joannie White- bird's poetry file. It was sitting on a file box on top of a desk that floated to the ceiling-never getting a drop of water. It will be months before the museum will be able to re-open. CAM's education department, directed by Ann Bunn, arranged temporary classroom space within 24 hours of the disaster for Roberta Stokes' dance class, Adrienne Montgomery's animation-filmmaking class and Carolyn Dahl's art class. Ann Robinson of Robinson Galleries donated one of the temporary office spaces for the museum. Photographer Suzanne Paul, who had a one-woman show in the lower gallery at the time of the flood, photographed the aftermath to help the musewm gain publicity for its restoration. "I did it," she said, " because the museum is one of the few places to give Texas artists, women artists and minority artists a place to exhibit their work or read their poetry." While the federal government is deciding whether a museum is eligible for disaster assistance, the museum is desperately in need of funding. Contributions may be sent to: CAM Flood Relief Southern National Bank P.O. Box 2529 Houston 77001 Homemaker members of Citizens for Flood Control in Harris County hold a "kitchen cabinet" meeting to discuss their citizens' march on City Hall. Seated left to right: Ann Kirby, Helen Hopkins, Bea Williams. Standing left to right: Ruth Bramlett, Kathleen Loughmiller, Brenda Howsen.