Failure Through Time: The Janes
"Sometimes you have to stand up to illegitimate authority."
Failure Through Time is a series about people who resisted oppression, pushed cultural boundaries, and failed to live in line with the norms of their time. This is the third essay of this series.
In 2015 I put out a call for submissions for an online zine. I wanted to create a project of 27 pieces about the age of 27. I was blown away at the submissions I received—the talent, the variety, the history. That is how I discovered the story of Judith Arcana and The Janes.
In 1970, Judith Arcana was 27 and was fired from her tenured teaching job. Her firing, along with others, went to court amidst similar cases across the nation as cultures collided while the anti-war movement, civil rights movement, and the women's movement grew along with sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll.
Unemployed and living off of her teacher's pension, Judith hit the road for California when the trial concluded that the dismissal of the teachers, including herself, was just. On her way back from California, "by way of various adventures and illuminations," she joined the Abortion Counseling Service of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, otherwise known as the underground clinic, Jane.
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