Burn Down the Master's House: The Intimate Histories of Slavery, Abolitionism, and Women's Rights


It has been more than three decades since Audre Lorde issued this wise advice to feminists: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Challenging feminist scholars for their failure to fully recognize the overlapping and intersectional oppressions of race, class, sexuality, and gender, Lorde both chided and encouraged women to remember that, “The failure of academic feminists to recognize difference as a crucial strength is a failure to reach beyond the first patriarchal lesson. In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower.”

Taking cue from Lorde, this Olio will explore a time in American history when the feminist movement strove to link the fight for gender equality with the fight for racial equality. The first women’s rights movement, taking shape in the decades just before the Civil War found a common ally in the abolitionist movement. 

Americans such as Angelina and Sarah Grimke, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth worked together in their fight for freedom, viewing the struggle to end slavery and the struggle to free women from gender oppression as inherently linked via a common foe: patriarchy. 

We will analyze the ideas that undergirded this coalition, and study the strategies they employed to push for a full scale social revolution. We will explore the ultimate failure of this partnership, analyzing how racism and sexism undermined the movements’ unity after the Civil War. Finally, we will ask ourselves what we can learn from studying this moment in American history in the hopes of heeding Lorde’s advice in our own fights for equality and visibility.




Location: Trans-Pecos

9-15 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385

By opening its doors to the entire neighborhood, Trans-Pecos has created a space that is open-minded and unique, and is one of the few places in the city that give equal importance to both the local community and artists of all types.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Jun 19

The (Un)Enlightenment and What it Means to be Modern

Taught by Lev Moscow
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Jun 20

Believing is Seeing

Taught by Briana Toole
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $15

Jun 22

OlioHouse | Breaking Bread: An Olio Salon Dinner

Taught by Brian Lewis
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jun 23

Female Power and Desire in Shakespeare after #MeToo

Taught by Christina Katopodis
1 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

Sign Up - $15

Jun 25

The Artist in an Alternative World

Taught by Ward Regan
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $15

Jun 25

OlioTour | Federal Hall & African Burial Ground

Taught by Jamie Warren
6 p.m. at Federal Hall

Sign Up - $0

Jun 26

Jun 27

The Long History of Selfie Culture

Taught by Ted Barrow
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jun 29

OlioHouse | Happiness & Hedonism Weekend

Taught by Skye Cleary
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jul 7

Museum Trip | 'The 80s Show' Private Tour

Taught by Charles Riley
2 p.m. at Nassau County Museum of Art

Sign Up - $20

Jul 13

OlioHouse | The Power of Ego, The Stillness of Spirit

Taught by Michael Haltenberger
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jul 25

Frida's Fragrance: Art, Scent, & Persona

Taught by Jessica Murphy
7:30 p.m. at The William Vale Hotel

Sign Up - $20

Sep 19

OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $


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