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Charles Lemert

Anna Julia Cooper is best known for her book A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South (1892), a classic in the tradition known today as the woman of color standpoint in social theory. No one before, except perhaps Sojourner Truth, had so clearly defined what Cooper called “the colored woman’s office” in the moral politics of late-nineteenth-century America.

Anna Julia Cooper was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the daughter of Hannah Stanley, a slave. Her white biological father, George Washington Haywood, was her mother’s owner. Of her biological father, Cooper once wrote: “I owe him not a sou and she [her mother] was always too shamefaced ever to mention him.” The child grew to carry herself with the mother’s sense of dignity and propriety.

Anna Julia s life began just before the outbreak of the American Civil War and ...

Article

Lisa Clayton Robinson

“Only the Black Woman can say ‘when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without special patronage, then and there the whole Negro race enters with me.’” In this passage from her speech “Womanhood a Vital Element in the Regeneration and Progress of a Race,” published in her 1892 work A Voice From the South: By a Black Woman of the South Anna Julia Cooper expresses one of her most important beliefs In her writings and speeches Cooper often argued that the status of the entire black race was dependent on the status of the women who run the homes and raise the children and that one of the best ways to elevate black women s status was to increase their educational opportunities As an activist and educator she spent most of her life simultaneously promoting these ideas and putting ...

Article

Lisa Clayton Robinson

For most of her life Dorothy Height was a leader in influential African American women's organizations. Born in Richmond, Virginia, Height grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from New York University in 1933 with bachelor's and master's degrees in educational psychology. While employed as a social worker, she became a leader with the United Christian Youth Movement, which gave her the opportunity to travel widely and work alongside Eleanor Roosevelt.

In 1937 Height accepted a post with the Harlem Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). She continued to hold leadership positions with the YWCA, first at the local and then at the national level, for the next 40 years. Among Height's accomplishments at the YWCA was her help in organizing the 1946 conference at which the association formally committed to integrating its programs.

Height continued to work with Roosevelt through the YWCA, and in November 1937 as she ...

Article

James Lance Taylor

activist, was born Betty Dean Sanders in Pinehurst, Georgia (though she later claimed Detroit, Michigan), to Shelman “Juju” Sandlin, a Philadelphia steelworker, and Ollie Mae Sanders, who conceived her out of wedlock as a teenager. Rumors of maternal neglect (Sandlin was an absent father) landed Betty in Detroit, Michigan, with her devout Catholic foster parents Helen Lowe, a grammar school teacher, and Lorenzo Don Malloy a shoemaker and proprietor. She was their only child.

Growing up with the Malloys, young Betty witnessed Helen Malloy's activism in social uplift causes through a Detroit affiliate of the National Housewives League the National Council of Negro Women and the then militant National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Betty participated in the Detroit League s youth program where she competed in debutant contests studied Negro history and affiliated with the well regarded Del Sprites social club Long ...