But your mother was an activist: Black women's activism in North Carolina

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lou Saunders Sua (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Kathleen Casey

Abstract: Black women have had a long history of unrecognized community activism. This includes involvement in the freedom struggle as recorded by Naples (1998), Rodriguez (1998), Knupfer (2006) and Patricia Hill Collins (2000) and others. I review research on Black women's activism in the Civil Rights Movement, and such roles as Black librarians. Black women serve as <&ldquo>bridge leaders<&rdquo> with a strong orientation toward social justice and social activism. Robnett (1997) theorized that bridge leaders were those who <&ldquo>utilized frame bridging, amplification, extension and transformation to foster ties between the social movement and the community: between prefigurative strategies and political strategies.<&rdquo> The focus of my research is Black women's grassroots activism in the Triad area of North Carolina. In defining grassroots, Naples (1998) states that <&ldquo>being from the grassroots generally means being free from any constraining political affiliations and being responsible to no authority except their own group.<&rdquo> The research of these seven women redefines an understanding and knowledge of why Black women fight for their communities and increases the knowledge of the political, cultural, social, and historical context of grassroots activism. This study utilizes narrative research methodology (Casey, 1993, 1995-6). I asked seven women to <&ldquo>tell me the story of your life.<&rdquo> I taped each interview and transcribed and analyzed each life story, taking note of selectivity, slippage, silence, and intertextuality (Popular Memory Group, 1982). I discuss the collective stories of these women in terms of the influence of their families, especially their fathers, the role of the church in their lived experience and the key impetus of education. Their life stories provide insights into their reasons for their activism which includes community issues that involved their own children and their communities. Some of the women were instrumental in developing an academic computer science, implementing a preschool and after school educational programs, and advocating for local public library services and building. Some served on the city council while others worked to save a historical Black high school, fight for welfare rights, and train community residents on community empowerment. Their other work would include undoing racism and addressing the deterioration of their housing, neighborhoods, and communities. Through their love of others and the need to make their neighborhoods and communities a better place for their families, these women represent the voices for social justice, social change, and community change that have not been heard.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Black women's activism in North Carolina, Community activism, Community organizing, Grassroots community activism, Narrative research
African American women $z North Carolina $v Biography
Community activists $z North Carolina $v Biography

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