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Telling Histories

Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower

Deborah Gray White

Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: The University of North Carolina Press
Published: 11/2009
Pages: 304
Subject: Social Science | University of North Carolina
Print ISBN: 9.78E+12
eBook ISBN: 9780807889121


The field of black women's history gained recognition as a legitimate field of study only late in the twentieth century. Collecting stories that are both deeply personal and powerfully political, Telling Histories compiles seventeen personal narratives by leading black women historians at various stages in their careers. Their essays illuminate how--first as graduate students and then as professional historians--they entered and navigated the realm of higher education, a world concerned with and dominated by whites and men. In distinct voices and from different vantage points, the personal histories revealed here also tell the story of the struggle to establish a new scholarly field.

Black women, alleged by affirmative-action supporters and opponents to be "twofers," recount how they have confronted racism, sexism, and homophobia on college campuses. They explore how the personal and the political intersect in historical research and writing and in the academy. Organized by the years the contributors earned their Ph.D.'s, these essays follow the black women who entered the field of history during and after the civil rights and black power movements, endured the turbulent 1970s, and opened up the field of black women's history in the 1980s. By comparing the experiences of older and younger generations, this collection makes visible the benefits and drawbacks of the institutionalization of African American and African American women's history. Telling Histories captures the voices of these pioneers, intimately and publicly.

Elsa Barkley Brown, University of Maryland
Mia Bay, Rutgers University
Leslie Brown, Washington University in St. Louis
Crystal N. Feimster, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Sharon Harley, University of Maryland
Wanda A. Hendricks, University of South Carolina
Darlene Clark Hine, Northwestern University
Chana Kai Lee, University of Georgia
Jennifer L. Morgan, New York University
Nell Irvin Painter, Newark, New Jersey
Merline Pitre, Texas Southern University
Barbara Ransby, University of Illinois at Chicago
Julie Saville, University of Chicago
Brenda Elaine Stevenson, University of California, Los Angeles
Ula Taylor, University of California, Berkeley
Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Morgan State University
Deborah Gray White, Rutgers University