Liz Abzug

Liz Abzug is the daughter of the late Congresswoman Bella Abzug of New York, who served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977.

Featured Audio

"My Mother Had a Sense of Style"

"My Mother Had a Sense of Style"
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug explains the origins of her mother’s personal style.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

Abstract & Transcript

In this interview, Liz Abzug reflects on the life and career of her mother, the late Representative Bella Abzug of New York, from her roots in the Bronx to her campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1970s. Throughout, Abzug describes the way her mother’s work as a pioneering civil rights lawyer, women’s rights activist, and anti-war protester shaped her experience in Congress.

Liz Abzug provides a unique perspective on her mother’s political career. She recalls distributing leaflets, making street-corner speeches, and organizing events for each of her mother’s House campaigns in her New York City congressional district. She discusses her mother’s inimitable personality and her prominent place in national politics during her time on Capitol Hill—and the way this affected her family’s life at home in New York City. Abzug’s oral history also describes her mother’s many political battles in New York and in Washington and highlights groundbreaking aspects of her legislative agenda, which included bills related to financial independence for women, government transparency, and gay rights.

Biography

Liz Abzug was born in Manhattan. Her mother, the late Congresswoman Bella Abzug of New York, served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977. Liz Abzug grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, before the family moved back to the city, where they lived in Greenwich Village. She graduated from high school in New York City and attended Boston University and Hofstra University Law School. While in college, she worked for her mother’s House campaigns as well as her unsuccessful races for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1976, Mayor of New York City in 1977, and a potential return to the House in 1986.

Abzug worked in state government promoting economic development initiatives for New York’s Urban Development Corporation. She was also the deputy commissioner of operations of New York State Division of Human Rights, a statewide rights enforcement agency. In 1991, she ran for a seat on the New York City Council. Four years later, Abzug started a public affairs and management consulting firm. She is the president of the nonprofit Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, which she founded in 2005. She teaches courses in urban studies and economic development at Barnard College and lives in New York City.

Audio

"I Knew My Life Was Never Going to Be the Same"

"I Knew My Life Was Never Going to Be the Same"
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug describes her personal role in her mother’s political campaigns.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

Campaigning for Mom

Campaigning for Mom
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug remembers the emotional toll of campaigning for her mother.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

"You've Got to Go Speak"

"You've Got to Go Speak"
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug recounts the time she had to represent her mother’s campaign at a rally for striking Legal Aid lawyers in New York City.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

"Campaigning in the Streets"

"Campaigning in the Streets"
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug provides a firsthand account of the campaign trail in 1970s Manhattan.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

Running in a New District

Running in a New District
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug details the challenges posed by her mother’s new congressional district in the 1972 election.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

"My Mother Had a Sense of Style"

"My Mother Had a Sense of Style"
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug explains the origins of her mother’s personal style.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

Speaking "Out and Loud" on Capitol Hill

Speaking "Out and Loud" on Capitol Hill
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug demonstrates the ways her mother challenged accepted norms on and off the House Floor.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

Getting A "Chance at Equality"

Getting A "Chance at Equality"
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug stresses the significance of her mother’s push for legislation granting women legal access to credit.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

Introducing the Equality Act

Introducing the Equality Act
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Bella Abzug introduced the Equality Act of 1974, which was designed to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Liz Abzug places her mother’s bill in the context of the civil rights movement.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

Dining Out with Bella Abzug

Dining Out with Bella Abzug
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug recalls that her mother’s national profile focused attention on her family wherever they went.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

Political Family

Political Family
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug details the way her mother’s political career was deeply connected to her family life.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

"He Could Handle It"

"He Could Handle It"
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Liz Abzug reflects on her father’s reaction to her mother’s critics.
Liz Abzug, Daughter of U.S. Representative Bella Savitzky Abzug of New York
Interview recorded November 20, 2018 Deed of Gift

Images & Artifacts

Family Photo
<i>Family Photo</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_abzug_family.xml
Liz Abzug (middle) sat with her mother, sister, and father.
Image courtesy of Liz and Eve Abzug, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
New York Congresswomen
<i>New York Congresswomen</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_abzug_ferraro.xml
Liz Abzug posed for a photograph with her mother Representative Abzug, Donna Zaccaro (Ferraro's daughter), and Representative Geraldine Ferraro.
Image courtesy of Liz and Eve Abzug, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Congresswomen Mink and Abzug
<i>Congresswomen Mink and Abzug</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_abzug_mink.xml
Representative Abzug photographed with Hawaii Representative Patsy Mink. The two Congresswomen served together in the House for three terms.
Image courtesy of Liz and Eve Abzug, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
With the Speaker
<i>With the Speaker</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_abzug_oneill.xml
Congresswoman Abzug appeared at a press event outside the U.S. Capitol with Speaker Thomas Philip (Tip) O’Neill of Massachusetts.
Image courtesy of Liz and Eve Abzug, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Bella Savitzky Abzug Shopping Bag
<i>Bella Savitzky Abzug Shopping Bag</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_abzug_bag.xml
In her interview, Liz Abzug remembers her mother "campaigning in the streets" and handing out bags like this one in order to promote name recognition.
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Bella Abzug Handbill
<i>Bella Abzug Handbill</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_abzug_handbill.xml
In her oral history, Liz Abzug discusses her mother's well-known slogan, "This woman's place is in the House."
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Campaigning
<i>Campaigning</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_abzug_grocery.xml
Congresswoman Abzug met constituents in a grocery store.
Image courtesy of Liz and Eve Abzug, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives