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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Selected Bibliography

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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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