Profiles of influential Black womenactivists at a historic moment
Thisvolume offers a panoramic view of Black feminist politics through the storiesof a remarkable cross section of Black women who attended the 1977 NationalWomen’s Conference. Thesewomen advocated for civil and women’s rights but also for accessibility,lesbians, sex workers, welfare recipients, laborers, and children.
Thewomen featured in this book include icons Coretta Scott King and MichelleCearcy, a teenager who served as a torchbearer at the conference. Contributorsoffer insights into the lives of Gloria Scott, Dorothy Height, FreddieGroomes-McLendon, and Jeffalyn Johnson. The profiles include activistorganizers Georgia McMurray, Barbara Smith, Johnnie Tillmon, Addie Wyatt, andFlorynce Kennedy. The hard-won achievements of politicians are examined andcelebrated, including those of Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Maxine Waters, C.Delores Tucker, thefirst Black female secretary of state for Pennsylvania, and Yvonne Burke, oneof the first Black women elected to Congress and the first representative togive birth while serving. The final profiles cover Clara McClaughlin, reporterMelba Tolliver, and photojournalist Diana Mara Henry, who shared the details ofthe conference and the continual work being done by Black women with othersthrough various media channels. This book places the diversity of Black women’sexperiences and their leadership at the center of the history of the women’smovement.
Publication of this work made possible by aSustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from theNational Endowment for the Humanities.
“This excitingcollection offers an up close and personal view of Black women’s grassrootspolitics across the U.S. in the late 1970s. With evocative portrait photographsaccompanying vivid biographies, It’s Our Movement Now makes readers feellike we are on the ground at the National Women’s Conference. A greatread.”—Annelise Orleck, author of RethinkingAmerican Women’s Activism
“Returns to an iconic moment in the history ofsecond-wave feminism, highlighting a diverse group of African American women.This is the story of the variety of ways that Black women responded to, andattempted to address, racial and gender discrimination, as well as theobstacles and challenges they encountered.”—Deanna M. Gillespie, author of The Citizenship Education Program and BlackWomen’s Political Culture
Laura L. Lovett, associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, is author of With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism.
Rachel Jessica Daniel is director of the Center for Employee Enrichment and Development and professor of English at Massasoit Community College. Kelly N. Giles is a Ph.D. student in sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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