On November 18, 1965 Casey Hayden and Mary King mailed a "kind of memo" addressed "to a number of other women in the peace and freedom movements.”
Retrospective linkages have led scholars to position A Kind of Memo as a diatribe against the movement, as a plea for more power for women, or as a manifesto for a new movement. However, Hayden, who described the memo as her "last action as movement activist, rejects all those interpretations.
“[O]n a train ride back east from Berkeley … en route to a labor organizing workshop at Highlander in the fall of 1965,” Casey Hayden set down her thoughts for other women in the peace and freedom movement. Hayden, a well-known white activist in SNCC was also one of a handful of women at the center of the early days of SDS. Her marriage finally acknowledged as over after a long separation, and her most recent foray into organizing raising more questions than hope, the words were the last “grasping out” for her beloved community.
After a stopover in Statesville, North Carolina, where Hayden and fellow SNCC worker Mendy Samstein considered working on a labor campaign and she penned quick letter to SDS in support of their recent position against the war in Vietnam, Hayden headed to Virginia. There, her friend and sister in SNCC, Mary King “signed on and helped … finalize and distribute” the document she had drafted.
A Kind of Memo was mailed to a small circle of friends, but quickly passed from hand to hand, circulated in mimeographed form, and eventually reached a wide audience in the New Left when it appeared, retitled as Sex and Caste, in the April 1966 issue of Liberation.