Cover image for Sisters in the struggle : African American women in the civil rights-black power movement
Sisters in the struggle : African American women in the civil rights-black power movement
Collier-Thomas, Bettye.
Publication Information:
New York : New York University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xii, 363 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
"Closed doors": Mary McLeod Bethune on civil rights / Mary McLeod Bethune -- For the race in general and Black women in particular: the civil rights activities of African American women's organizations, 1915-50 / V.P. Franklin and Bettye Collier-Thomas -- Behind-the-scenes view of a behind-the-scenes organizer: the roots of Ella Baker's political passions / Barbara Ransby -- "Tired of giving in": the launching of the Montgomery bus boycott / Rosa Parks -- "Heirs to a legacy of struggle": Charlayne Hunter integrates the University of Georgia / Charlayne Hunter Gault -- "We wanted the voice of a woman to be heard": Black women and the 1963 march on Washington / Dorothy I. Height -- "We seek to order to speak the truth": nurturing the seeds of discontent--Septima P. Clark and participatory leadership / Jacqueline A. Rouse -- African American women in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party / Vicki Crawford -- Anger, memory, and personal power: Fannie Lou Hamer and civil rights leadership / Chana Kai Lee -- "Chronicle of a death foretold": Gloria Richardson, the Cambridge movement, and the radical Black activist tradition / Sharon Harley -- Black women and Black power: the case of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee / Cynthia Griggs Fleming -- "Ironies of the Saint": Malcolm X, Black women, and the price of protection / Farah Jasmine Griffin -- "No one ever asks what a man's role in the revolution is": gender politics and leadership in the Black Panther Party, 1966-71 / Tracye A. Matthews -- "Joanne is you and Joanne is me": a consideration of African American women and the the "Free Joan Little" movement, 1974-75 / Genna Rae McNeil -- From the Kennedy Commission to the Combahee Collective: Black feminist organizing, 1960-80 / Duchess Harris -- The civil rights-Black power legacy: Black women elected officials at the local, state, and national levels / Linda Faye Williams.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.61 .S615 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ
E185.61 .S615 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



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.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

These 1997 conference papers offer several outstanding contributions toward a keener comprehension of the role of African American women in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. Autobiographical and biographical material is joined with sociopolitical analyses that focus on collective experience. Essays include a brief but powerful recollection of the American racial scene by the notable Mary McLeod Bethune; a penetrating overview of African American women's organizations, 1915-1950; recollections of Rosa Parks, Charlayne Hunter Gault, and Dorothy I. Height; Septima Clark's central role in the citizenship schools that furthered voter registration; the role of black women in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party; a superb discussion of Fannie Lou Hamer; and a chapter on Gloria Richardson that opens the way for further study of this militant leader. Several of the essays reveal that sexism was widely prevalent, but the book highlights the reality that a number of black women acted out indispensable leadership roles in the struggle. A major, seminal work in the study of African American women's history that enriches the scholarship of the American freedom struggle. Highly recommended for all collections. H. Shapiro emeritus, University of Cincinnati