Black Women in White America, Revisited
Featuring Dr. Nell Irvin Painter
In 1972, Dr. Gerda Lerner published her pioneering study Black Women in White America. That same year, Dr. Lerner and Dr. Joan Kelly Gadol were fighting to prove that women had a history worth recording by co-founding the oldest women’s history graduate program in the country at Sarah Lawrence College. In the political arena, a Black woman, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm was waging a competitive campaign to become the first woman president of the United States and activists across the country were fighting an uphill (and ultimately unsuccessful) battle to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
Much has changed since 1972, and this fact makes 2017 a particularly opportune time to reassess the legacy of Gerda Lerner’s path-breaking scholarship. Does the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” apply in the case of Black women in America today? How has the expansion of scholarship by and about women of color enhanced our knowledge of women’s history and necessarily challenged previous assumptions? How has ongoing structural inequality undermined the gains of the women’s movement of the 1970s? What is the status of all women in a multiracial, multicultural, diversely religious but still deeply fractured America today?
The conference will feature our keynote speaker, noted Princeton Emerita historian Dr. Nell Painter, distinguished author of many books, including Standing at Armageddon: A Grassroots History of the Progressive Era, The History of White People, and Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol.
Panel topics include; Serving While Black and Female: Race, Gender, and Resistance in 20th-Century American Capitalism; Resistance and Empowerment, Black Women In Medicine: Pioneers in Gender, Racial and Social Equity in Medicine; Black Women’s Activism in the Civil Rights Movement; Black Women, Activism And The Arts, and Engaging Diaspora: Perspectives of Black Women in Latin America.
Location: Sarah Lawrence College, 1 Mead Way, Bronxville