Black Women in America


Edited by: Kim Marie Vaz

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Black Women's Social History through the Lens of their Activism

    Part II: Image Wars: Literary and Popular Constructions of Black Women

    Part III: Performing their Visions

    Part IV: Contemporary Psychosocial Challenges

  • Dedication

    To Deborah G. Plant a Louisiana Warrior Woman


    View Copyright Page


    I teach the course “Black Women in America” to university students every semester. Students often ask how I maintain my enthusiasm term after term. Without fail I tell them that this is my one chance to communicate directly to large groups a body of information from a Black woman's standpoint; the one place in the university setting where Black women's experiences are center stage, where it is permissible to affirm and value Black women's achievements as well as examine the wounds incurred from living in a racist and sexist society. It is the one place where over the course of several months I can discuss the various ways in which Black women have constantly reconstructed and transformed alien definitions of Black womanhood. Within the content of the material are pragmatic strategies for changing one's own life conditions. Hence, the nature of the subject matter acts as a personal and group energizer.

    Through this anthology, I wish to share my approach to teaching about Black women in America. The collection offers an interdisciplinary study of Black women's historic activism, representation in literature and popular media, self-constructed images, and current psychosocial challenges. The contributors are an outstanding group of scholars representing a variety of disciplines. All of the chapters in this anthology are being published here for the first time. The original research of these scholars provides a wealth of knowledge that will be useful to professors, students, cultural workers, and all those interested in Black Studies and Women's Studies.



    This anthology benefited from a Research and Creative Scholarship grant from the Division of Sponsored Research at the University of South Florida and a grant from The Black Life Research Program sponsored by University of South Florida's Institute on Black Life. I would like to thank my colleagues at the University of South Florida for their support and encouragement, namely Juel Smith and the faculty and staff of the Department of Women's Studies and the Africana Studies Program. Marianne Bell's clerical assistance was invaluable. Dale Grenfell and Marquita Flemming at Sage Publications were unfailing in their enthusiasm for this project and I thank them. Kristin Bergstad proved to be an excellent and efficient copy editor. The anonymous reviewers' comments were very helpful to the contributors and I offer them our gratitude. My research assistant on the project, the insightful Gwynne Jenkins, generously gave more of her time than I could financially reward. Her commitment to the project accelerated the pace with which we were able to ready the manuscript for publication. I wish to thank the contributors to this anthology for their scholarly insights and forbearance.

    Organization of the Anthology


    I have organized the chapters in this anthology into four main sections: Black women's organizing activities, societal images of Black women, images Black women have constructed of themselves and each other, and, finally, contemporary psychosocial challenges.

    A Legacy of Activism

    In precolonial societies, gendered constraints on women's dietary habits, public decision making, and inheritance rights sought to subordinate women. Nonetheless, as Barbara A. Moss points out, African women were an integral part of their communities and often maximized their positions with resources gained by their own labor. Especially in matrilineal societies, individual African women could achieve high status as administrators in political systems and as spirit mediums in the religious arena. As part of the group, African women could band together to redress grievances against men and discipline male offenders. Enslaved African women passed on their legacy of resilience, resourcefulness, and spirituality to their African-American daughters who adapted these to confront and challenge the slave system.

    One of the earliest forms of organized activism engaged in by Black women in the New World was female antislavery societies. Shirley J. Yee notes that all female organizations provided one arena through which free Black women could participate in the public domain and, at the same time, remain within acceptable boundaries of female behavior. Black women followed the practice of organizing separately from men and participating in specifically “‘female’ activities, such as fund-raising in support of male leadership.… Yet, the existence of sex-segregated social activities was, ironically, as liberating as it was constrictive, for it helped sweep away the memories of slavery and create for Black men and women a sense of autonomy over their lives both inside and outside the home.”

    Black women's positions within precolonial African societies and New World Black liberation movements can be described as “constrained but empowered” (Collins, 1990). This is evident not only from Moss's and Yee's work but from Dorothy C. Salem's chapter on Black women in the formation of the National Association For the Advancement of Colored People, 1909–1922, and Mary C. Pruitt's findings on female civil rights activists in Minnesota. Salem's work reveals that Black women were pivotal to the development of the NAACP. They worked as mobilizers of antilynching campaigns, as investigators, as administrators, as branch directors, and as fund-raisers. Although they were overlooked by Black male and White leadership for years when key appointments were made, they persisted in assisting the NAACP to achieve its goals. Mary Toliver Jones and Josie Robinson Johnson are examples of the women Ella Baker could have been speaking about when she said that women outnumbered men in the Civil Rights Movement and the Movement was largely carried by them. Mary Pruitt interviewed these Minnesota women who signed up for a lifetime of commitment to working for social justice. Pruitt describes how these women acted out of an ethic of responsibility and from a perspective of social change as involving long-term struggle. The Civil Rights Movement provided opportunities for the development of women's leadership on the one hand and for the improvement of the quality of work lives for Black women on the other.

    Deborah B. Carter explores the intersection of occupational changes and social change movements and their impact on African-American women. During World War II, African-American women were able to move from domestic and farm jobs into the manufacturing sector. For the first time, Black women were in a position to be organized by a trade union. In addition, the Civil Rights Movement framed class struggle in terms of the conflict between Whites and Blacks. The movement brought new leadership and strategies and a new ideology on the relationship between Black inequality and racial discrimination in the labor market. As a result large numbers of African Americans, particularly women in low-wage occupations, unionized.

    M. Rivka Polatnick's case study of the liberation activism of poor Black women demonstrates that the issues they confronted were more broadly based than those of middle-class White women and activist Black men. The Mt. Vernon/New Rochelle poor women's group linked race, gender, and class inequality as reflected in their agenda: welfare rights, decent housing, the overthrow of capitalism, militant resistance of male supremacy while emphasizing the common struggle with Black men against racial oppression, and defense of birth control as positive technology. Unlike middle-class White women's groups, these poor Black women valued mothering and family life and were alarmed about the implications of certain practices surrounding artificial reproduction. Polatnick concludes that White women did not “launch” nor do they “own” women's liberation activism; researchers and the general public must begin to think in less restricted ways about women's liberation. Polatnick's findings are reminiscent of Yee's in that Blacks defined abolitionist activity in more sweeping terms than did Whites. For Blacks, abolitionist activism entailed assisting runaway slaves, the establishment of literary societies to make up for the scarcity of schools for Blacks, opposition to recolonization, and the elimination of racism. Many Black academic feminists strive to construct knowledge from the perspectives of Black working-class women. This can prove difficult if Black intellectuals adopt the stance of a “spectator-writer” as opposed to that of a “progressive, activist-writer.” Joy James recounts the investigative activism of Ida Wells that incorporated dialogues with other activists and writers to divulge facts distorted or denied in White media. James analyzes the “narratives of conviction” of three Black feminists as they discussed the Central Park Jogger rape case. James cautions Black feminists against relying on White media exclusively, without considering Black and Hispanic coverage of situations affecting Black people. This, coupled with a lack of knowledge about Black women's antiracist and antisexist coterminous organizing, leads Black feminist writers to participate in the erasure of Black women's activism around issues of racial and sexual violence against women and fair trials for Black men and to reductive conclusions that Black women automatically subordinate sex to race.

    Socially Constructed Images

    Images of Black women that have been constructed by European and European-American leaders of religious, social, literary, cultural, and political institutions throughout the centuries have retained a pejorative characterization of Black sexuality. Baltasar Fra-Molinero rereads Old World historical texts and literary testimonies and discusses the practices of slavery as well as the literary representations of Black women in 15th and 16th century Spain. These ideas and customs eventually were exported to the New World, serving to create and justify Black women's marginality and exploitation. In the literature of that period, Black women were characterized as having bad tempers and loose sexual morals. The writers portrayed Black women as committing infractions, specific to their supposed perverse morality, that resulted in physical punishment by their White masters. These masters charged themselves with the responsibility of defending the “honor of their households.” Mulatto women, on the other hand, escaped punishment and were exoticized by the largely White male writers of the era. Yet, White women's fears of being cast aside as the object of affection by their husbands in favor of cunning and deceitful Black women also found its way into the literature, by at least one Spanish woman writer, to round out the negative characterizations of enslaved African women.

    The actual sexual exploitation of Black women became a pervasive reality in the Old South and continued beyond emancipation. Madelin Joan Olds addresses the White Southern obsession with interracial sex in the postbellum period. Specifically, she explores the charge by White former slave owners that civil rights would encourage miscegenation. They reasoned that poor White men would be drawn to the beauty and wealth of affluent mulattoes, thereby producing children who could pass for White. Toward the turn of the century when Blacks made concrete progress, these former owners leveled the charge that Black men wanted to rape White women either because of Black equality or Black revenge. The revenge argument held that because of the concubinage relationship between White men and Black women, Black men were driven to rape White women. The equality argument proposed that it was the “New Negro,” raised in freedom and granted political participation, that sought to terrorize White women. Nevertheless, it was Black women who were more frequently cited by White writers as being responsible for the so-called sexual immorality of the race, even as Black men were thought to be menacing White women. It was Black women who produced the unchaste daughters, bestial sons, and enticing mulattoes. The Black rapist theme, Olds concludes, served to protect race, class, and gender interests; that is, dominance of Whites over Blacks, rich over poor, and men over women, and to bolster as well as aggravate the sexual and power ambitions of White patriarchs.

    The ideas of Black women's sexual immorality so meticulously crafted in Spain and carried through the postbellum South resurfaced in 1992 as Anita Hill accused the nominee for the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, of sexual harassment while she worked for him at two separate government agencies. In her chapter, Bridget Aldaraca reviews the attempts by Thomas supporters on the Senate Judiciary Committee to discredit Hill's testimony by establishing that she was not a reliable witness because she was “acting out a fantasy of unrequited love for a man who was her superior.” Aldaraca notes that some Black writers on the subject also imbibed these ideas, suggesting that Thomas's remarks to Hill were simply Black male courting behavior.

    Elizabeth Hadley Freydberg reviews the portrayal of Black women and Latinas in American Hollywood films. From this Eurocentric and androcentric industry flows the familiar societal stereotypes of both groups of women as prostitutes, whores, and drug addicts. Many contemporary male filmmakers, irrespective of race, retain this vision of Black women and Latinas, and these stereotypes continue to surface in modern films. Even though sophisticated and beautifully written works by women of color are readily available, Freydberg concludes that there is no indication that complex stories about Black women and Latinas will be emerging from Hollywood in the near future. Given the additional reality that women of color directors and producers remain on the margins of the industry, we will continue to be bombarded with derogatory images of Black women and Latinas.

    Negative attitudes about the poor, Blacks, and women are not confined to popular media but are inscribed in the current welfare and housing policy, as well. These views held by many government policy makers reflect an unwillingness to come to grips with poverty and racism. Shirley M. Geiger addresses the ideological, racial, gender, and class factors that influence public policy decision making. She finds that instead of acting to relieve the economic and social hardships facing poor Black women who head households, U.S. public policy seeks to control the behavior of these women and their children. Geiger urges Black women not only to conduct research into the areas of public policy strategies that would enhance the lives of large numbers of Black women, but to monitor the voting habits of politicians from areas with substantial numbers of Black women solo parents.


    A Black woman is credited as being the first American woman political speaker to leave copies of her speeches and speak before a mixed audience of men and women. Maria W. Stewart delivered her first speech in 1832. Any woman daring to speak during this period had to contend with male hostility as it was delivered through the pulpit and through physical attacks by men during women's formal lectures. Charles I. Nero writes that although Black women have had a long history as public orators, public address anthologies—whether compiled by men, Black or White—have excluded their voices. White women also marginalize Black women as they reconstruct women's oratorical past. Another factor working to prevent the serious study of Black women's public address is the reliance on the model of great leaders. For men, women do not fit this model and for White women, Black women seldom figure as great women leaders. Moreover, those Black women whose speeches do find their way into print tend to be middle and upper class. Nero suggests that circumventing this class bias involves redefining public address to include a wide array of discursive practices, from poetry to naming behaviors.

    Black women continually draw on institutions in the Black community to stretch the tight spaces they are assigned. It is to the African-American press that Linda D. Williams has turned to chronicle a wider range of images of Black women than ordinarily recorded in works on Black women. She debunks the lie about the absence of Black women athletes, managers, and owners in sporting activities as varied as swimming, golf, tennis, basketball, and track. Williams urges researchers to look beyond the image of Black women as victims—an image which suggests that only recent government and judicial decisions created opportunities for Black women to participate in local, state, and national sport competitions. Using institutions in the African-American community, Black women created opportunities for themselves before Althea Gibson and Wilma Rudolph made their marks and in spite of racism and sexism. The African-American weeklies chronicled the activities of Black women's athletics and even sponsored tournament play for women.

    Beginning in 1948, Marion Cuyjet provided opportunities for brown-skinned Black girls to develop the theoretical and technical knowledge necessary to become successful ballet dancers. Melanye White-Dixon chronicles the development of Cuyjet's Judimar School and profiles four of her students (Judith Jamison, Delores Abelson, China White, and Donna Lowe Warren) who pursued performing careers with professional dance companies. Throughout her chapter, White-Dixon highlights the survival strategies that Black dancers developed to cope with the racism of the professional White American dance companies.

    Women rap artists are asserting their voices in a musical genre whose male performers are often blatantly sexist. Robin Roberts suggests that much of women's rap should be considered “practical feminist criticism.” Evidence of this comes through the women's clothing, mannerisms, posture, and physical stature and through their lyrics that declare that they are people deserving of respect, safe and pleasurable sex, and the right to be heard.

    Psychosocial Challenges

    The authors of this section warn activists, policy makers, researchers, and relatives of older Black women not to make assumptions about them. Because they are not a homogeneous group, Black women must be allowed to state their own needs and directions for liberation. Bernita C. Berry's chapter explores older Black women's perceptions of the meaningfulness of their lives in spite of social and structural constraints. She finds that Black women are certainly aware that discrimination exists based on age, race, and gender, but these have not prevented them from creating satisfying lives. Many of the women in her sample report having fulfilling lives stemming from their relationships with their families, jobs, and community involvement.

    A self-help group for African-American women rearing their daughters' crack cocaine exposed children in Tampa, FL, has engaged in the process of defining their own needs. Drawing on his clinical work with these women, Aaron A. Smith recounts how through the group the women began to identify the manner in which these new and unplanned demands jeopardized their own economic, physical, and emotional survival. Even though these women were married they received virtually no support from their husbands, and adult children and relatives were often antagonistic. Having imbibed society's negative views of Black women and experienced strained familial relationships since childhood, coupled with poor educational histories and bleak employment records, these women are also faced with the task of defending their grandchildren against the destructive behavior of their daughters. Through the grandmothers' group the women were able to fend off feelings of isolation, cope with guilt about having failed as mothers, and learn to claim their legal rights as grandmothers and ultimately as Black women.

    The two chapters in this final section serve as a reminder that Black women have an image of themselves that differs from those others impose. Collectively the authors of this anthology demonstrate that socially constructed images hide the complexities and ambiguities, the challenges and the joys experienced in the real lives of Black women.

    Collins, Patricia Hill. (1990). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. Boston: Unwin Hyman.
  • Appendix: A Brief Guide to Resources by and about African-American Women

    Compiled by GwynneL.Jenkins

    African-American women's studies is one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing bodies of literature in contemporary academia. Its writers, filmmakers, researchers, and artists actively challenge and expose White patriarchy and the silence it attempts to impose on African-American women. These cultural workers are bringing African-American women's lives to the forefront of the American consciousness.

    This guide is but a brief introduction to this enormous and multifaceted body of literature. It has been coalesced with both students and teachers in mind. Its references sample the “classics” as well as noteworthy bibliographies and resource guides for in-depth research.

    Section 1. African-American Feminist Thought
    Andolsen, BarbaraH. (1986). Daughters of Jefferson, daughters of bootblacks: Racism and American feminism. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press.
    Bambara, ToniCade. (Ed.). (1970). The Black woman: An anthology. New York: New American Library.
    Bell-Scott, Patricia. (Ed.). (1989). Black women's studies [Special issue]. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 6, (1).
    Cole, JohnettaB. (1986). All American women: Lines that divide, ties that bind. New York: Free Press.
    Collins, PatriciaHill. (1990). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness and the politics of empowerment. Boston: Unwin Hyman.
    Combahee River Collective. (1979). A Black feminist statement. In Z.Eisenstein (Ed.), Capitalist patriarchy and the case for socialist feminism (pp. 362–372). New York: Monthly Review Press.
    Davis, AngelaY. (1981). Women, race, and class. New York: Random House.
    Hirsch, Marianne, & Keller, EvelynFox. (Eds.). (1990). Conflicts in feminism. New York: Routledge.
    hooks, bell. (1981). Ain't I a Woman? Black women and feminism. Boston: South End.
    Hull, GloriaT., Smith, B., & Scott, P.B. (Eds.). (1982). All the women are White, all the Blacks are men, but some of us are brave: Black women's studies. Old Westbury, NY: Feminist Press.
    LaRodgers-Rose, Frances. (Ed.). (1980). The Black woman. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
    Lorde, Audre. (1984). Sister outsider. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press.
    Lorde, Audre. (1986). I am your sister: Black women organizing across sexualities. Latham, NY: Kitchen Table Press.
    Moraga, Cherrie, & Anzaldua, Gloria. (Eds.). (1981). This bridge called my back: Writings by radical women of color. Watertown, MA: Persephone Press.
    Smith, Barbara. (Ed.). (1983). Home girls: A Black feminist anthology. Latham, NY: Kitchen Table Press.
    Walker, Alice. (1983). In search of our mothers' gardens: Womanist prose. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
    Section 2. The History of African-American Women
    Collier-Thomas, Bettye. (1981). National council of Negro women, 1935–1980. Washington, DC: Bethune Museum Archives.
    Crawford, Vicki, Rouse, J.A., & Woods, B. (Eds.). (1990). Women in the civil rights movement: Trailblazers and torchbearers, 1941–1965 (Black Women in United States History, Vol. 16). Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing.
    Davis, LenwoodG. (1975). Black women in the cities, 1872 to 1975: A bibliography of published works on the life and achievements of Black women in cities in the U.S. Chicago: CPL Bibliographies.
    Giddings, Paula. (1984). When and where I enter: The impact of Black women on race and sex in America. New York: Morrow.
    Giddings, Paula. (1988). In search of sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the challenge of the Black sorority movement. New York: William Morrow.
    Guy-Sheftall, Beverly. (1990). Daughters of sorrow: Attitudes toward Black women, 1880–1920 (Black Women in United States History, Vol. 11). Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing.
    Harley, Sharon, & Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. (Eds.). (1978). The Afro-American woman: Struggles and images. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press.
    Hine, DarleneClark. (Ed.). (1990). Black women's history: Theory and practice (Black Women in United States History, Vols. 9–10). Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing.
    Hine, DarleneClark. (Ed.). (1990). Black women in American history: From colonial times through the nineteenth century (Black Women in United States History, Vols. 1–4). Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing.
    Hine, DarleneClark. (Ed.). (1990). Black women in American history: The twentieth century (Black Women in United States History, Vols. 5–8). Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing.
    Lerner, Gerda. (1972). Black women in White America: A documentary history. New York: Pantheon.
    Lerner, Gerda. (1979). The majority finds its past: Placing women in history. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Morton, Patricia. (1991). Disfigured images: The historical assault on Afro-American women. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
    Noble, JeanneL. (1978). Beautiful, also, are the souls of my Black sisters: A history of the Black woman in America. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
    Salem, Dorothy. (1990). To better our world: Black women in organized reform, 1890–1920 (Black Women in United States History, Vol. 14). Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing.
    Sterling, Dorothy. (Ed.). (1984). We are your sisters: Black women in the nineteenth century. New York: Norton.
    Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. (1980). Teaching the history of Black women: A bibliographic essay. The History Teacher, 13, (2), 245–250.
    Walker, Melissa. (1991). Down from the mountaintop: Black women's writings in the wake of the civil rights movement, 1966–1989. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
    Walker, RobbieJean. (Ed.). (1992). The rhetoric of struggle: Public address by African-American women. Hamden, CT: Garland.
    Washington, MaryHelen. (1987). Invented lives: Narratives of Black women 1860–1960. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday.
    White, DeborahGray. (1985). Ar'n't I a woman? Female slaves in the plantation South. New York: Norton.
    White, DeborahGray. (1987). Mining the forgotten: Manuscript resources for Black women's history. Journal of American History, 74, 237–242.
    Section 3. Social Conditions of Contemporary African-American Women
    A. Career, Education, and Political Economy
    Amott, Teresa, & Matthaei, Julie. (1991). Race, gender, and work. Boston: South End.
    Barnes, AnnieS. (1988). Black women: A sociological study of work, home, and the community. Bristol, IN: Wyndham Hall.
    Bell-Scott, Patricia. (Ed.). (1984). Black women's education [Special issue]. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 1, (1).
    Bell-Scott, Patricia. (Ed.). (1986). Workers [Special issue]. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 3, (1).
    Bell-Scott, Patricia, & Guy-Sheftall, Beverly. (1991). Black women in higher education: An anthology of essays, studies, and documents, New York, 1987, New York: Garland.
    Brookman, Ann, & Morgen, Sandra. (Eds.). (1988). Women and the politics of empowerment. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
    Broussard, CherylD. (1991). Black woman's guide to financial independence: Money management strategies for the 1990s. Oakland, CA: Hyde Park Publishing.
    Collins, PatriciaHill, & Anderson, MargaretL. (Eds.). (1987). An inclusive curriculum: Race, class, and gender in sociological instruction. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association Teaching Resource Center.
    Higginbotham, Elizabeth. (1984). Work and survival for Black women. Tennessee: Memphis State University, Center for Research on Women.
    Higginbotham, Elizabeth. (1985). Employment for professional Black women in the twentieth century. Tennessee: Memphis State University, Center for Research on Women.
    Ihle, ElizabethL. (1988). Black girls and women in elementary education [microfilm]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research & Improvement, Educational Resources Center.
    Jones, Jacqueline. (1985). Labor of love, labor of sorrow: Black women, work, and family, from slavery to present. New York: Basic Books.
    Ladner, JoyceA. (1971). Tomorrow's tomorrow: The Black woman. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
    Malson, MichelineR., et al. (Eds.). (1990). Black women in America: Social science perspectives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Malveaux, Julianne. (1985). The political economy of Black women. In M.Davis et al. (Eds.), The year left 2: An American socialist yearbook (pp. 52–72). New York: Routledge, Chapman & Hall.
    Nivens, Beatryce. (1987). Black women's career guide. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
    Scott, KeshoYvonne. (1991). The habit of surviving: Black women's strategies for life. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
    Simms, MargaretC, & Malveaux, Julianne. (Eds.). (1986). Slipping through the cracks: The status of Black women. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.
    Sims-Wood, Janet. (1986). Black women as workers: A selected listing of masters' theses and doctoral dissertations. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 3, (1), 64–65.
    Spanier, Bonnie, Bloom, A., & Boroviak, D. (Eds.). (1984). Toward a balanced curriculum: A sourcebook for initiating gender integration projects. Cambridge, MA: Schenkman.
    Swerdlow, Amy, & Lessinger, Hanna. (Eds.). (1983). Class, race, and sex: The dynamics of control. Boston: G. K. Hall.
    Zalokar, Nadja. (1990). The economic status of Black women: An exploratory investigation. Washington, DC: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
    B. Health and Well-Being
    Bell-Scott, Patricia. (Ed.). (1985). Health [Special issue]. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 2, (2).
    Black Women's Liberation Group, Mount Vernon, NY. (1970). Statement on birth control. In R.Morgan (Ed.), Sisterhood is powerful (pp. 360–361). New York: Random House.
    Coley, SorayaM., & Beckett, JoyceO. (1988). Black battered women: A review of empirical literature. Journal of Counseling and Development, 66, (6), 266–270.
    Davis, AngelaY. (1987). Violence against women and the ongoing challenge to racism. Latham, NY: Kitchen Table.
    Fried, M.G. (Ed.). (1990). From abortion to reproductive freedom. Boston: South End.
    Fullilove, MindyT., Fullilove, R.E., Haynes, K., & Gross, S. (1990). Black women and AIDS prevention: A view towards understanding the gender rules. Journal of Sex Research, 27, (1), 47–64.
    Hall, ChristineC.I., Evans, B.J., & Selice, S. (Eds.). (1989). Black females in the United States: A bibliography from 1967 to 1987. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
    Howze, Beverly. (1977). Suicide: Special references to Black women. Journal of Non-White Concerns in Personnel and Guidance, 5, (2), 65–72.
    Kanuha, Valli. (1990). Compounding the triple jeopardy: Battering in lesbian of color relationships. Women and Psychotherapy, 9, (1/2), 169–184.
    Lorde, Audre. (1980). The cancer journals. San Francisco: Spinster/Aunt Lute.
    Mitchell, EllaP. (Ed.). (1985). Those preachin' women: Sermons by Black women preachers. Valley Forge, PA: Judson.
    Mitchell, EllaP. (Ed.). (1988). Those preachin' women: Vol. 2. More sermons by Black women preachers. Valley Forge, PA: Judson.
    Richardson, Marilyn. (1980). Black women and religion: A bibliography. Boston: G. K. Hall.
    Ruzek, Sheryl, et al. (1986). Minority women, health and healing in the U.S.: Selected bibliography and resources. San Francisco: University of California, Women, Health & Healing Program.
    Teish, Luisah. (1985). Jambalaya: The natural woman's book of personal charms and practical rituals. San Francisco: Harper.
    White, EvelynC. (1985). Chain, chain, change: For Black women dealing with physical and emotional abuse. Seattle: Seal Press, New Leaf.
    White, EvelynC. (Ed.). (1990). The Black women's health book: Speaking for ourselves. Seattle: Seal Press.
    Young, GlenellS., & Sims-Wood, Janet. (1984). The psychology and mental health of Afro-American women: A selected bibliography. Temple Hills, MD: Afro Resources.
    Young, GlenellS., & Sims-Wood, Janet. (1985). Black women's mental health: Aselected listing of recent masters' theses and doctoral dissertations. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 2, (2), 77–78.
    C. Family and Relationships
    Aldridge, Delores. (1990). Focusing: Black male-female relationships. Chicago: Third World Press.
    Allen, WalterR., et al. (Eds.). (1986). Black American families, 1965–1984: A classified, selectively annotated bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
    Angelou, Maya. (1970). I know why the caged bird sings. New York: Random House.
    Barnes, AnnieS. (1988). Black women: A sociological study of work, home and the community. Bristol, IN: Wyndham Hall.
    Bell-Scott, Patricia. (1991). Double stitch: Black women write about mothers and daughters. Boston: Beacon.
    Gibbs, J., & Bennett, S. (Eds.). (1980). Top ranking: A collection of articles on racism and classism in the lesbian community. Brooklyn, NY: February Third Press.
    Omolade, Barbara. (1987). It's a family affair: The real lives of Black single mothers. Latham, NY: Kitchen Table.
    Roberts, J.R. (1981). Black lesbians: An annotated bibliography. Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press.
    Sims-Wood, Janet, & Staples, RobertE. (1984). Black mother-daughter relationships: A list of related readings. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 1, (2), 38–39.
    Stacks, Carol. (1974). All our kin: Strategies for survival in a Black community. New York: Harper & Row.
    Staples, Robert. (1986). The Black woman in America: Sex, marriage and the family. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
    Section 4. Literature and Literary Critique of African-American Women
    Bell-Scott, Patricia. (Ed.). (1989). Women as writers [Special issue]. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 2, (1).
    Braxton, JoanneM. (1989). Black women writing autobiography: A tradition within a tradition. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
    Braxton, JoanneM., & McLaughling, AndreeNicola. (Eds.). (1989). Wild women in the whirlwind: Afra-American culture and the contemporary literary renaissance. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
    Brown-Guillory, Elizabeth. (1991). Wines in the wilderness: Plays by African-American women from the Harlem renaissance to the present. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
    Chapman, DorothyH. (1986). Index to poetry by Black American women. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
    Christian, Barbara. (1985). Black feminist criticism: Perspectives on Black women writers. Elmsford, NY: Pergamon.
    Gates, HenryLouis, Jr. (Ed.). (1990). Reading Black, reading feminist: A critical anthology. New York: Meridian Books.
    Honey, Maureen. (1989). Shadowed dreams: Women's poetry of the Harlem renaissance. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
    Howard, SharonM. (1992). African-American women fiction writers, 1959–1986: An annotated bio-bibliography. Hamden, CT: Garland.
    Jones, LolaE. (Ed.). (1991). 20th century Black American women in print. Acton, MA: Copley Publishing.
    Perkins, Kathy. (Ed.). (1989). Black female playwrights: An anthology of plays before 1950. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    Pryse, Marjorie, & Spillers, HortenseJ. (Eds.). (1985). Conjuring: Black women, fiction, and literary tradition. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    Roses, LorraineElena, & Randolph, RuthElizabeth. (1989). The Harlem renaissance and beyond: Literary biographies of 100 Black women writers, 1900–1945. Boston: G. K. Hall.
    Sherman, JoanR. (Ed.). (1988). Collected Black women's poetry (Vols. 1–4). New York: Oxford University Press.
    Shockley, AnnAllen. (1988). Afro-American women writers, 1744–1933: An anthology and critical guide. Boston: G. K. Hall.
    Sims-Wood, Janet. (1985). African-American women writers: A selected listing of masters' theses and doctoral dissertations. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 2, (1), 69–70.
    Smith, Barbara. (1991). The truth that never hurts: Black lesbians in fiction in the 1980s. In C.T.Mohanty et al. (Eds.), Third world women and the politics of feminism (pp. 101–129). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    Stetson, Erlene. (1982). Black women in and out of print. In J.E.Hartman & E.Messer-Davidow (Eds.), Women in print: Vol. 1. Opportunities for women's studies research in language and literature (pp. 87–107). New York: Modern Language Association of America.
    Wall, CherylA. (Ed.). (1989). Changing our own words: Essays on criticism, theory, and writing by Black women. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
    Washington, MaryHelen. (Ed.). (1975). Black-eyed Susans: Classic stories by and about black women. Garden City, NY: Anchor.
    Washington, MaryHelen. (Ed.). (1980). Midnight birds: Stories by contemporary Black women writers. Garden City, NY: Anchor.
    Watson, CaroleMcAlpine. (1985). Prologue: The novels of Black American women, 1891–1965. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
    Yellin, JeanFagan, & Bond, Cynthia. (Compilers). (1991). The pen is ours: A listing of writings by and about African-American women before 1910 with a secondary bibliography to the present. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Section 5. African-American Women in the Arts
    Bell-Scott, Patricia. (Ed.). (1987). Artists and artisans [Special issue]. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 4, (1).
    Bentley, KennethW. (1985). Beyond a dream: Black women in the arts. Los Angeles: Carnation.
    Brown, ElsaBarkley. (1989). African-American women's quilting: A framework for conceptualizing and teaching African-American women's history. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 14, (4), 921–929.
    Campbell, Loretta. (1983). Reinventing our own image: 11 Black women filmmakers. Heresies, 16, 58–62.
    Green, MildredDenby. (1983). Black women composers: Agenesis. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
    Handy, D.Antoinette. (1981). Black women in American big bands and orchestras. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.
    Harrison, DaphneDuval. (1988). Black pearls: Blues queens of the 1920s. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
    Hill, GeorgeH., Raglin, L., & Johnson, C.F. (1990). Black women in television: An illustrated history and bibliography. New York: Garland.
    LaDuke, Betty. (1987). The grand dame of Afro-American art: Lois Mailou Jones. Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, 4, (1), 53–58.
    Maynard, Olga. (1986). Judith Jamison: Aspects of a dancer. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
    Moutoussamy-Ashe, Jeanne. (1986). Viewfinders: Black women photographers, 1839–1985. New York: Dodd, Mead.
    Parkersons, Michelle. (Producer & Director). (1983). Gotta make this journey: Sweet Honey in the Rock [film]. New York: The Black Filmmaker Foundation.
    Roberts, Robin. (1991). Music videos, performance and resistance: Feminist rappers. Journal of Popular Culture, 25, 141–152.
    Royals, DemetriaB., & Diamon, Louise. (Producer). (1988). Mama's pushcart: Ellen Stewart and 25 years of La Mama ETC [film]. New York: Women Make Movies.
    Story, RosalynM. (1990). And so I sing: African American divas of opera and concert. New York: Warner Books.
    Worteck, SusanWilland. (1982). Forever free: Art by African-American women, 1862–1980: An exhibition. Feminist Studies, 8, (1), 97–108.
    Section 6. Women of African Descent Throughout the Contemporary Diaspora
    Afram, Silvana. (Director). (1986). Black women of Brazil [film]. New York: Women Make Movies.
    Bryan, Beverly, Dadzie, S., & Scafe, S. (1985). The heart of the race: Black women's lives in Great Britain. London: Virago.
    Clark, BoriS. (Compiler). (1981). Trinidad women speak out. Redlands, CA: Libros Latinos.
    Essed, Philomena. (1990). Everyday racism: Reports from women of two cultures. Claremont, CA: Hunter House.
    Morgan, Robin. (Ed.). (1984). Sisterhood is global: The international women's movement anthology. Garden City, NY: Anchor.
    Nasta, Susheila. (Ed.). (1992). Motherlands: Black women's writings from Africa, the Caribbean, and South Asia. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
    Opitz, May, Oguntoye, K., & Schultz, D. (1992). Showing our colors: Afro-German women speak out. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.
    Robertson, Claire, & Berger, Iris. (Eds.). (1986). Women and class in Africa. New York: Africana Publishing.
    Senior, Olive. (1992). Working miracles: Women's lives in the English-speaking Caribbean. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    Steady, FilominaChioma. (Ed.). (1981). The Black woman cross-culturally. Cambridge, MA: Schenkman.
    Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn, Harley, S., & Rushing, A.B. (1987). Women in Africa and the African diaspora. Washington, DC: Howard University Press.
    Thiam, Awa. (1986). Black sisters, speak out: Feminism and oppression in Black Africa. London: Pluto.
    Thornhill, E., & Jennings, M. (1987). Black women in Canada: Embattled and battling for empowerment. Women's Studies International Forum, 10, (5), R59–R60.
    Wilentz, Gay. (1992). Binding cultures: Black women writers in Africa and the diaspora. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

    About the Contributors

    Bridget A. Aldaraca received her doctorate in Spanish literature from the University of Washington and a Master's of Social Work from Florida State University. She has published articles on feminism and ideology, women, and medicine in the nineteenth century. Her book, El Angel del Hogar: Galdos and the Ideology of Domesticity in Spain, was published in 1991. The Spanish-language version has been published by Siglo XXI (Madrid, 1992). Her work-in-progress is titled Hysteria and Sexuality: The Medical Construction of Women in Nineteenth Century Spain, to be published in Spain by Siglo XXI.

    Bernita C. Berry received her Ph.D. degree in sociology from Kent State University in 1988. Her special areas of expertise are race and ethnic relations, gender, and aging. She is a powerful motivational speaker and lectures on topics related to women and minorities. She has been on the faculty of sociology at Agnes Scott College and John Carroll University.

    Deborah Brown Carter received her doctorate in sociology in 1988. Her dissertation was a case study of Local 282—Furniture Division—International Union of Electrical Workers. She has been on the sociology faculty at Radford University and Johnson C. Smith University. She teaches Deviance, Introduction to Sociology, the Sociology of Work and Occupations, Social Inequality Social Movements, and the Sociology of Alcohol and Drug Use. Her current research interest concerns alcohol use among African-American women.

    Baltasar Fra-Molinero received his doctorate in Spanish literature from Indiana University, Bloomington. He is a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Romance Languages at Bates College. His dissertation was a study of the images of Blacks in Spanish Golden Age literature. He obtained his baccalaureate in English from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain and a doctorate in English from the University of Seville. His research focuses on the representation of minorities and marginalized groups in Spanish classical literature.

    Elizabeth Hadley Freydberg, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Northeastern University in Boston where she teaches Film History, Drama and Literature of African-American Women, and African-American Drama/Film. She was a Fulbright Lecturer (1989–1990) in the Department of Literature at Kenyatta University. She has been researching and writing on African-American women pioneers in aviation since 1984 and contributed biographical articles on five aviatrixes to Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (1993). She has been awarded a 1994–1995 Rockefeller Fellow to write a feature filmscript based on her book, Bessie Coleman: The Brownskin Lady Bird (1994), the African-American aviatrix who barnstormed the United States during the 1920s. She is concurrently writing a bio-bibliography on Ethel Waters. Her publications include articles on film, feminism, women entertainers, and aviators and appear in Multiple Voices in Feminist Film Criticism; Spirit, Space and Survival; African American Women: A Biographical Dictionary; Notable Black American Women; Notable Women in The American Theatre: A Biographical Dictionary, and Visions Magazine for Film and Television.

    Shirley M. Geiger is on the Political Science faculty at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She teaches American politics, public policy, and the politics of the budget process. Her research interests include housing and social welfare policy; federal, state, and local budgeting; and women and politics.

    Joy James teaches feminist theory and courses on African-American women activists in Women Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She has published articles in Z, Race and Class, and the Black Scholar; and is coeditor with Ruth Farmer of Sprit, Space, and Survival: African American Women in (White) Academe (1993). She is currently working on a book on African-American women's radicalism and political thought as well as research on race, representation, and sexual violence in American visual culture.

    Gwynne L. Jenkins is a doctoral student at the State University of New York at Albany where she is working toward her doctorate in cultural anthropology. Her research interests include the critical analysis of anthropological fieldwork and theory from a feminist perspective. She has conducted research on midwifery in a Costa Rican community and on the political activism of African-American club women in Albany, NY, from the 1920s to the 1940s.

    Barbara A. Moss is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Georgia in Athens. She received her Ph.D. from Indiana University. Research interests include Southern African history, African religious beliefs, passive resistance, and women's studies. She is presently working on a monograph, Holding Body and Soul Together: Women, Autonomy, and Christianity in Colonial Rhodesia.

    Charles I. Nero is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Chair of African American studies at Bates College. He has received research grants from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. Research interests about African American conservatism, HIV/AIDS education, gay studies, and the 19th century oratory have appeared in Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men, Howard Journal of Communication, Our Voices: Essays in Communication and Culture, Law and Sexuality: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Legal Issues, and Journal of Counseling and Development. He is presently completing a book-length work Reconstructing Manhood: Contemporary Black Gay Literature and film.

    Greg Olds is currently publishing newsletters concerning story ideas for newspaper and TV editors. He has 25-years work experience as a newspaper reporter and editor. He was the editor of The Texas Observer, a political journal based in Austin, that covered state affairs in 1966–1970.

    Madelin Joan Olds earned a doctorate degree in history from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1989. She was, until her death (fall 1989), a Professor of Political Science at Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, TX, where she had taught since 1966. In 1965–1966 she was on the faculty of Blinn College, Brenham, TX. In addition to her teaching, she was politically active in Corpus Christi and Texas state politics. She took some time off from Del Mar in 1972 to serve as director of research for the gubernatorial campaign of Frances T. “Sissy” Farenthold, a campaign that just barely failed to elect the state's second woman governor. She helped lead the research effort for a dissident group of Texas legislators in 1969—that came to be known as the “Dirty Thirty”—in their efforts to reform the state legislature, particularly its appropriations procedures. She served as a co-chair of a statewide committee appointed by Texas Lt. Governor Bill Hobby on ethics in government. At her death, friends, students, and fellow faculty members established a scholarship at Del Mar College in her name, the proceeds to be used, when possible, to assist women, particularly those beyond usual college age, in undertaking (or resuming interrupted) college studies pursuant to a career outside the home.

    M. Rivka Polatnick (Ph.D., Sociology) teaches Women's Studies at San Jose State University. She is the granddaughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants and the mother of Esta Joy. She has been active for women's liberation since the late 1960s, focusing especially on consciousness-raising, sexual harassment, racism, infant mortality, and other reproductive rights issues. The larger study from which her chapter derives is being revised for publication.

    Mary C. Pruitt is a Professor of American Women's History at Minneapolis Community College. She is a cofounder of the Women's Studies Program, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Her current research project, sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society, is a study of the women of the Farmer-Labor Association (FLA) in Minnesota in the 1930s. Sources include newspapers (from the labor movement, the African-American community, settlement houses, women's clubs, and the FLA) and oral history interviews. The range of women's organizations across the political spectrum, from the moderate League of Women Voters to the far-leftist Rosa Luxemborg Women's League, is what kept the FLA a vital force in Upper Midwest politics for more than a decade.

    Robin Roberts is on the faculties of English and Women's Studies at Louisiana State University. She has written numerous articles on women and popular culture, including two on women rappers. Her study of feminist science fiction, A New Species: Gender and Science in Science Fiction, was published in 1993.

    Dorothy C. Salem, Ph.D., received her degree from Kent State University and is currently a Professor of History at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. Her research and training interests are in African American history, women's history, immigration history, the Progressive Era, and racial and ethnic relations. Her publications include African American Women: A Biographical Dictionary; and To Better Our World: Black Women in Organized Reform, 1890–1920; chapters in Encyclopedia of the American West; Handbook of American Women's History; Women Writing in the United States; Great Lives in History II: American Women; Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, and the forthcoming Images of Black Women, and journal articles, including “A White Woman in Black Women's Studies: A Personal Narrative,” in Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women (April 1990). She has received the American Fellowship from the AAUW, Summer Study Fellowship from NEH, and Gund Foundation Publication Grant for Women's Equity Issues in Comparative Cultures: A Handbook for Postsecondary Teachers. She has received the National Teaching Excellence Award from NISOD (1989), Besse Award for Teaching Excellence (1985), and Distinguished Alumnae Award, Cleveland State University (1990). She serves on the board of Children's Support Rights.

    Aaron A. Smith is an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of South Florida. He received his doctorate in Medical Sociology from the University of California, San Francisco. He has spent almost 30 years as a medical social worker and psychotherapist, specializing in family and couples work. He is presently involved in research relating to intergenerational issues experienced by the Black family involved with drug and substance abuse. He is also interested in studying the multiple influences of race, class, and gender upon the survival of Black families.

    Kim Marie Vaz received her doctorate in Educational Psychology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Currently, she is on the faculty of the Department of Women's Studies at the University of South Florida. She is a co-producer of a video-essay titled Spirit Murder: Stopping the Violent Deaths of Black Women (available from USF's Video and Film Distribution Library, Division of Learning Technologies, Tampa, FL 33620). Her book, titled The Woman With the Artist Brush: A Life History of Yoruba Batik Artist, Nike Olaniyi Davies, will be published by the Foremother Legacy Series of M. E. Sharpe.

    Melanye White-Dixon, dancer, educator, and historian, is an Associate Professor and coordinator of the Teacher Education Program in the Department of Dance at Ohio State University. She graduated from Spelman College and Columbia University and received her doctorate from Temple University. In 1991 she was honored as an Alumni Fellow for her contributions to teacher education in dance. Her research on African-American women in concert dance has been published in the Philadelphia New Observer; Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women; and the Dance Research Journal of CORD (Congress on Research in Dance). She serves on the board of directors of the American Dance Guild and is on the advisory board of Talking Drums! The Journal of Black Dance.

    Linda D. Williams completed her undergraduate and master's degrees at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, where she wrote her dissertation: An Analysis of American Sportswomen in Two Negro Newspapers: The Pittsburgh Courier, 1924–1948 and the Chicago Defender, 1932–1948. She recently completed a chapter, “Sportswomen in Black and White: Sports History From an Afro-American Perspective,” in Women, Media, and Sport: Challenging Gender Values, edited by Pamela J. Creedon. She has served as a co-investigator for two major media studies sponsored by The Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles. The first, Gender Stereotyping in Televised Sports, was released in 1990, and the second, Coverage of Women's Sports in Four Daily Newspapers, was released in January 1991.

    Shirley J. Yee graduated from the University of Scranton in 1981 with a B.A. in History and Communication. She earned her doctorate in History from The Ohio State University in 1987. Since 1988, she has been on the faculty of the Women Studies Program at the University of Washington, with adjunct appointments in the Department of History, American Ethnic Studies Department, and Canadian Studies Program.

    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website