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The Coalition to Take Back the Night records

Identifier: M142


In 1978 a group of women from Boston area community organizations gathered to organize demonstrations opposing acts of intimidation and violence against women. The group modeled itself after an international protest movement known as “Reclaim the Night,” which began in Belgium in 1976 when women attending the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women walked through the streets carrying candles to protest the continuation of violence against women. Protesters in San Francisco held the first stateside Take Back the Night rally in 1978 following an anti-pornography conference, and cities across the United States followed suit soon after. The first Boston “Women Unite, Take Back the Night” demonstration occurred on the evening of August 26, 1978 and drew 3,000 supporters. Subsequent marches were held annually. In the 1980s and 1990s the event expanded to include panel discussions, film screening and workshops. The focus of Take Back the Night widened to include gay and lesbian rights, gender equality, sexuality in culture, and date rape education. In the 1990s colleges and universities began hosting campus Take Back the Night events; these rallies and marches continue nationally and internationally to this day.


  • Creation: 1978-1991


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.


Women participate in evening demonstration at the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women in Belgium.
In London, women participate in Reclaim the Night demonstration in Leeds.
Protesters attending an anti-pornography conference in San Francisco hold the first stateside Take Back the Night rally.
In August, Boston women organize a “Women Unite, Take Back the Night” demonstration drawing 3,000 supporters.
Coalition cosponsors a day of women's safety workshops for Cambridgeport women.
Harvard University hosts its first Take Back the Night demonstration.
Boston Take Back the Night demonstration draws over 6,000 participants.
Concerns over racism in the structure of Coalition demonstrations prompts organizers to cancel the Take Back the Night rally.
Harvard University hosts a week-long Take Back the Night program including poetry readings, film screenings and panel discussions.


0.35 cubic feet (1 container, 2 flat file folders)

System of Arrangement:

Arranged in one alphabetical sequence.

Physical Location

65/3, FF4/D1

Finding aid for The Coalition to Take Back the Night Records
Finding aid prepared by Rebecca Parmer
February 2008
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Snell Library
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US