in conversation with Steve Wasserman
& Kris Welch
Corte Madera Store
Sat., June 4, 2022 • 1:00pm PT
Lifelong activist Judy Gumbo, an original member of The Yippies, a 1960s anti-war satirical protest group, offers an insider feminist memoir of her involvement with the Yippies, Black Panthers, women's rights, environmental actions, and a life of activism.
In 1968, a 24-year-old woman moved to Berkeley, California and immediately became enmeshed in the Youth International Party, aka The Yippies, an anti-war satirical protest group. In the next few years, Judy Gumbo (a nickname given her by Eldridge Cleaver), was soon at the center of counter-cultural activity — from protests in People's Park, to meetings at Black Panther headquarters, to running a pig for President at the raucous Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a protest that devolved into violent attacks by the police and arrests that led to the notorious Chicago Conspiracy Trial.
In this historical account, Gumbo reveals intimate details of — and struggles with — her fellow radicals Jerry Rubin, Anita & Abbie Hoffman, Eldridge Cleaver, Paul Krassner, Stew Albert, and more, detailing their experiences in radical protests. This deep dive into her activism includes details of her organization of a national women's rights group, her visit to North Vietnam during the war, her travels around the globe to promote women's liberation and anti-war protest, and her environmental activism. It also includes extensive excerpts from illegal wiretaps and surveillance by the FBI.
Yippie Girl explores Gumbo's life as a protester to show that, while circumstances always change, protesters can stay loyal to the causes they believe in and remain true to themselves. She also reveals how dogmatism, authoritarianism, and interpersonal conflict can damage those same just causes, offering a timeless and strategic guide for activists today protesting against injustice in all its forms.
Judy Gumbo is one of the few female members of the original Yippies, a satirical protest group founded in the 1960s that levitated the Pentagon to stop the Vietnam War, brought the New York Stock Exchange to a halt to ridicule greed and ran a pig named Pigasus for President at the 1968 Democratic Convention, resulting in police violence, arrests, and the notorious "Chicago 7" conspiracy trial. As part of her activism, Judy founded a national women's rights organization, helped organize the world's first Earth Day, visited North Vietnam during the war, and travelled the globe agitating against the war and for the liberation of women. Her activism led to unwarranted surveillance by the FBI; she later successfully sued to obtain copies of their extensive records on her. Judy has a Ph.D. in Sociology and spent the majority of her professional career as an award-winning fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. She currently lives in Berkeley, California.
Steve Wasserman is the publisher of Heyday Books in Berkeley.
Kris Welch is a producer/host at KPFA-FM.
Judy Gumbo photo courtesy of Gary Goldberg