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Route 66: The Untold Story of Women on the Mother Road

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Summer Film Series Tour | Springfield, MO
Featuring Route 66: The Untold Story of Women on the Mother Road and Panel Discussion with Chix on 66
Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 7 PM

Consider a quick summer road trip to Springfield, a nice drive on Route 66 to Missouri, for a special evening showcasing the new documentary film series, Route 66: The Untold Story of Women on the Mother Road. The evening will feature excerpts from the film and a panel discussion featuring Arcadia’s Route 66 notable Shellee Graham, a photographer and author, who is featured in the documentary along with other Oklahomans. The three-part series on DVD explores how women overcame segregation and gender discrimination to build fulfilling lives for themselves and generations to come on America’s most beloved road. This special event is being held in conjunction with Chix on 66 – Forty women motorcyclists who are riding the “Mother Road” to Santa Monica,
California.

The “Mother Road” as it was coined by John Steinbeck has struck a chord with Americans and an ever growing international audience since its inception in 1926.  Its roughly 2,400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles still represent the ultimate American Experience, and almost 100 years later it still beckons the traveler.   However, the narrative of the road, as conveyed by popular culture and historical works, has primarily focused on men and often overlooked the experiences of women and girls.

This project Route 66: The Untold Story of Women on the Mother Road began as a web-site and oral history project and then became a documentary film series.  Our goal is to create a public history record that sheds light on diverse women’s experiences for nearly a century. The time period covered by Route 66’s history from its inception in 1926 to its demise in 1985 and then to its ongoing rebirth represents a national steady march forward for women on all fronts including the domestic, political, social and economic spheres of their lives.  The oral histories gathered fit into this wider women’s history context.

That said, the American Experience is not homogeneous and a woman’s experience of a particular decade is impacted by factors beyond just the decades in which she lived and her gender.  The oral histories identified for this project reflect the diversity of the people who live and work along Route 66 from Chicago to California.

Route 66 Women website

Film producer Michelle Kantor will be part of the discussion, along with Graham, during the June 14 event at Meyer 101, Missouri State University Libraries, Springfield, MO.

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The event is free. Visit the website route66women.com or the Facebook page for more information.

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