Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-black Power Movement

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Bettye Collier-Thomas, V.P. Franklin
NYU Press, 2001 - Political Science - 363 pages

Women were at the forefront of the civil rights struggle, but their indvidiual stories were rarely heard. Only recently have historians begun to recognize the central role women played in the battle for racial equality.

In Sisters in the Struggle, we hear about the unsung heroes of the civil rights movements such as Ella Baker, who helped found the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper who took on segregation in the Democratic party (and won), and Septima Clark, who created a network of "Citizenship Schools" to teach poor Black men and women to read and write and help them to register to vote. We learn of Black women's activism in the Black Panther Party where they fought the police, as well as the entrenched male leadership, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where the behind-the-scenes work of women kept the organization afloat when it was under siege. It also includes first-person testimonials from the women who made headlines with their courageous resistance to segregation—Rosa Parks, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, and Dorothy Height.

This collection represents the coming of age of African-American women's history and presents new stories that point the way to future study.

Contributors: Bettye Collier-Thomas, Vicki Crawford, Cynthia Griggs Fleming, V. P. Franklin, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Duchess Harris, Sharon Harley, Dorothy I. Height, Chana Kai Lee, Tracye Matthews, Genna Rae McNeil, Rosa Parks, Barbara Ransby, Jacqueline A. Rouse, Elaine Moore Smith, and Linda Faye Williams.

 

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Contents

In the Whip of the Whirlwind
2
Laying the Groundwork African American Women and Civil Rights Before 1950
10
Closed Doors Mary McLeod Bethune on Civil Rights
12
For the Race in General and Black Women in Particular The Civil Rights Activities of African American Womens Organizations 191550
22
BehindtheScenes View of a BehindtheScenes Organizer The Roots of Ella Bakers Political Passions
43
Personal Narratives
60
Tired of Giving In The Launching of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
62
Heirs to a Legacy of Struggle Charlayne Hunter Integrates the University of Georgia
76
From Civil Rights to Black Power African American Women and Nationalism
164
Chronicle of a Death Foretold Gloria Richardson the Cambridge Movement and the Radical Black Activist Tradition
167
Black Women and Black Power The Case of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
190
Ironies of the Saint Malcolm X Black Women and the Price of Protection
207
No One Ever Asks What a Mans Role in the Revolution Is Gender Politics and Leadership in the Black Panther Party 196671
223
Law Feminism and Politics
250
Joanne Is You and Joanne Is Me A Consideration of African American Women and the Free Joan Little Movement 197475
252
From the Kennedy Commission to the Combahee Collective Black Feminist Organizing 196080
273

We Wanted the Voice of a Woman to Be Heard Black Women and the 1963 March on Washington
84
Women Leadership and Civil Rights
94
We Seek to Know in Order to Speak the Truth Nurturing the Seeds of DiscontentSeptima P Clark and Participatory Leadership
96
African American Women in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
122
Anger Memory and Personal Power Fannie Lou Hamer and Civil Rights Leadership
140
The Civil RightsBlack Power Legacy Black Women Elected Officials at the Local State and National Levels
299
Selected Bibliography
326
Permissions
336
Contributors
338
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Bettye Collier-Thomas is Professor of History and Director of the Center for African-American History and Culture at Temple University. She is the author of Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons and co-author, with V.P. Franklin, of My Soul is a Witness: A Chronology of the Civil Rights Era, 1954-1965.

V.P. Franklin is Distinguished Professor of History at Drexel University. He is the author of several books, including Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Biography and Living Our Stories, Telling Our Truths: Autobiography and the Making of the African-American Intellectual Tradition.

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