I am working on a paper about political widows of assassinated leaders from 1963-1968. The paper is a study on the role of women such as Jackie O, Ethel Kennedy, Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz, and Myrlie Evers-Williams, and focuses on the way in which they were thrust into the role of living legacy for the deceased man of promise. Thus far, I have found some fascinating stuff, most of which has to do with real vs. symbolic legacies and race/gender stuff. On the latter topic, it seems that the black women I'm studying were better prepared to assume this role of living legacy in an activist way, and I am sensing that this has much to do with black women's roles historically in movements for racial advancement.
My question is this: does anyone know of any literature about black women's roles in racial progress historically? I know about Evelyn Brooks-Higginbotham's book, but am interested say in women's role in Garveyism and other 20th century movements. I am looking for a discussion of women that calls them to assist in the advancement of the race in language and terms that parallels that used to draw in men-with black women equally called to the task rather than seen as standing behind the man(though this stuff would be useful, too.) My sense is that black women are more accustomed to stepping in to fill men's shoes as needed--both in familial and political roles--than upper class white women. It's this racial component I'm trying to pin down. Anything you suggest would be most helpful.
Blair, Barbara, "True Women, Real Men: Gender, Ideology and Social Roles in the Garvey Movement" in Gendered Domains: Rethinking Public and Private in Women's History (Dorothy Helly and Susan Reverby,eds; Cornell U Press, 1992) pps. 154-166
Buechler, Steven M., Women's Movements in the United States (New Brunswick, Rutgers Press, 1990)
Crawford, Vicki, Rouse, Jacqueline Ann, and Woods, Barbara Women in the Civil Rights Movement
Davis, Angela, Women, Race and Class (NY, Random House, 1981)
Dray,Philip and Cagin, Seth, We Are Not Afraid
Dunbar-Nelson, Alice, Give Us Each Day
Gaines, Kevin, Uplifting the Race
Giddings, Paula, When and Where I Enter
Gordon, Linda, Pitied But Not Entitled (chapter on black women's welfare activism)
Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks, Righteous Discontent: The Women's Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920
Hine, Deborah Clark, King, Wilma, and Reed, Linda, eds; We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible: A Reader in Black Women's History
Hull, Gloria T., Scott, Patricia Bell, & Smith, Barbara, eds; All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave (Feminist Press, City of NY U, 1982)
Jones, Jacqueline, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow
Lerner, Gerda Black Women in White America
Morton-Neverdon, Cynthia, Afro-American Women of the South and the Advancement of the Race, 1895-1925
Payne, Charles M. I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Traditions and Mississippi Freedom Struggle (U of Calif. Press, 1995)
Richardson, Laurel and Taylor, Verta, eds; Feminist Frontiers III (McGraw Hill, 1993)
Robinson, Jo Ann Gibson, The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson (Knoxville, Univ. of Tennessee Press, ca.1987).
Sacks,Karen, Caring By the Hour: Women, Work, and Organizing at Duke Medical Center
Salem, Dorothy, To Better Our World: Black Women in Organized Reform, 1890-1920
Smith, Susan L., Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Black Women's Health Activism in America, 1890-1950
Sterling, Dorothy, ed; We Are Your Sisters, Black Women in the 19th Century (Norton,1984)
Terbourg-Penn, Rosalyn, Dissertation from Howard U. entitled "Afro-Americans in the Struggle for Woman Suffrage", 1977.
Additional suggestions: Contact the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcom X Blvd., NY,NY 10036-1801
"If you haven't already, you might want to add Rita Schwerner to the list of women you are looking at. As a widow of a civil rights activist she has more in common with King, Shabazz, and Evers-Williams than do the Kennedys, and as a white woman who responded to her husband's murder in an explicitly political way, she provides an interesting data point, although one that might confuse your thesis." From email@example.com 08 Feb 1996
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