Subscribe to the RSS Feed

Subscribe to the RSS Feed

About/Contact

BeckwithB@aol.com

617-868-3143

barbaraAs an Activist:

I’ve been an activist all my life, taking action on issues I believe in: rent control, educational access, withdrawal from Vietnam, women’s liberation, anti-nuclear arm, pro-writers’ rights, anti-sociobiology, and currently, challenging institutional, cultural, and individual racism.

I’ve been a National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) activist and Boston Chapter Steering Committee member since the 1980s, and served three terms on the NWU’s national executive board. As a member of both national and local diversity committees, I worked for the prioritizing of issues vital to writers of color, LGBTQ writers, and writers with disabilities. I helped compile the union’s Strength Through Diversity: A Handbook for Locals (2002), which is downloadable from nwu.org (scroll down lefthand list to Diversity Committee). I co-edited and contributed to From Idea to Article: Twelve Freelancers Tell How They Broke Into Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times and Other Major Publications (NWU-Boston Chapter 1996).

As a Writer:

I’ve been a freelance writer since the 1980s. Well, actually, a bit earlier: I wrote my first poem, overheard and transcribed by my mother, when I was three years old, moved on to “heroine” stories featuring myself, thinly disguised, veered away from creativity and into academics at Wellesley College and Tufts graduate school, returned to writing via journals, writing along with my high school students, and writing for Sojourner: The Women’s Journal.

After getting my “credentials” at Boston University (M.S./Print Journalism, 1983), I worked as a stringer for the Middlesex News, then as a reporter for The Brookline Chronicle. I quit to become a freelance writer, first at local newspapers (Boston Globe, etc.), then at national magazines.
I’ve written everything from municipal news, book reviews, magazine features, educational handbooks, press releases, and reports to narrative journalism, poetry, family oral history, and personal essays. I worked with FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (Cambridge MA) to co-author Standing Up to the SAT (ARCO). I write for both love and money.

As a Teacher:

I taught high school English for 12 years at public alternative schools in Cambridge (Pilot School) and in Watertown (Home Base), plus courses on work, on interviewing, on psychology and anthropology, on Survival (co-taught with an outdoors expert), on the Environment (co-taught with a science teacher), and on “Language and Power.” I also briefly taught English as a Second Language as part of Boston’s WIN program (quit because of administrators’ demeaning attitude to adult students).

While a journalist, I taught (as an adjunct professor) journalism courses at Framingham State College, Suffolk University, and Emerson College, plus various writing for publication workshops at Cambridge, Boston, and Brookline adult education centers. I continue to teach as a workshop-leader and mentor.

Currently, I co-facilitate workshops called “White People Challenging Racism: Moving From Talk to Action” at Boston-area adult education centers, anti-racism conferences, and most recently, in Wellesley College’s winter session non-credit program.  In 2009, I collected my personal essays on white privilege and racism into a booklet titled What Was I Thinking? Reflecting on Everyday Racism.

My degrees: Wellesley College (B.A. in English Literature), Tufts University (M.Ed. in Secondary Education) and Boston University (M.S. in Print Journalism).