Former Weather Underground leader shares tips on raising feminist boys

February 14, 2014

(Photo courtesy of StoryCorps)
Julie Biehl and Bernardine Dohrn

Bernardine Dohrn is perhaps best known for her role as a leader of a militant anti-war group in the ‘60s and ‘70s. After a decade in hiding, she turned herself in to face charges.

She went on to a career as a prominent legal advocate for children, founding Northwestern’s Children and Family Justice Center.

Dohrn came to the Chicago StoryCorps booth with longtime friend, Julie Biehl, who now leads the justice center, to talk about the challenges they face in raising feminist sons, and dealing with some of the boys' interest in guns.

BERNARDINE: I thought that I wasn’t going to have children. I was kind of adamant that the only way to make it OK for women to grow up in a patriarchal society and fight that was that lots of women would choose not to have children.

StoryCorps’ mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. This excerpt was edited by WBEZ.

She and Biehl each ended up raising three sons. 

BERNARDINE: I kind of always joked about the feminist mothers of boys club.

To hear how they worked to raise socially aware young men (and Rosa Parks' surprise visit!), check out the audio above.

Lynette Kalsnes is a reporter/producer at WBEZ. Follow her @LynetteKalsnes