1970 April 13

Nine Women’s Liberation Activists Arrested for Sit-in at Grove Press, Pioneering Anti-Censorship Publisher


Nine women associated with the women’s liberation movement were arrested on this day after a five-hour sit-in at the offices of Grove Press in New York City. The protest, which included 16 others who left the building voluntarily and were not arrested, was motivated by several factors.

A spokesperson said that eight employees, including six women, had been fired in recent days in retaliation for union activity. Also, the protesters alleged that women were confined to low level jobs. A lawyer for the group declared that “Grove Press won’t let women be anything but secretaries, scrub women, and sex symbols.” Underlying these allegations was the charge that Grove Press “sadomasochistic literature and pornographic films that dehumanize and degrade women.”

Led by Barney Rossett (d., February 21, 2012), Grove Press had published much erotic literature over the years and was a pioneer in challenging censorship of book because of alleged obscenity and pornography. See Rosset and Grove Press’ campaign to publish D.H. Lawrence’s class novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover (June 11, 1959, July 21, 1959. And see also their battle to publish Henry Miller’s classic novel Tropic of Cancer (August 11, 1961, June 22, 1964).

Read Barney Rosset’s autobiography: Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship (2016)

Learn more about Rosset and Grove Press here.

Learn more: Robin Morgan, Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement (1970)

Learn more at the National Coalition Against Censorship here.

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