Sisters in the Struggle : African-American Women in the Civil Ri... Cover Art

Sisters in the Struggle : African-American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement (Paperback)

By: Bettye Collier-Thomas, V.P. Franklin

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Read the Introduction.

Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2002

”The quality of each individual essay makes Sisters in the Struggle stand out as an unusual anthology, one whose total sum is actually more than its parts”
—Journal of American History

"Sisters in the Struggle is a powerful, inspirational and insightful book that takes the reader on a journey into the lives of some of the nation's most gifted and courageous African American women leaders, feminist organizers, and Black Power advocates. It was through the dint of their efforts that they helped shape and define what American society should become. These "sheroes" remind us that the prices they paid for freedom bequeathed a legacy of human dignity and opportunity that must be sustained by generations to follow."
—Joyce A. Ladner, author of Tomorrow's Tomorrow: The Black Woman

If Bettye Collier-Thomas and V.P. Franklin had only gathered together a distinguished group of scholars to document the role woman played in the black freedom movement, their contribution would be immense. But Sisters in the Struggle is more than an acknowledgment and celebration of black woman's activism. It is a major revision of history, revealing that black women were the critical thinkers, strategists, fighters, and dreamers of the movement. Black feminists developed a social vision expansive enough to emancipate us all."
—Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class

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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