Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower

Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower

by Deborah Gray White

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Overview

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. Contributors:Elsa Barkley Brown, University of MarylandMia Bay, Rutgers UniversityLeslie Brown, Washington University in St. LouisCrystal N. Feimster, University of North Carolina at Chapel HillSharon Harley, University of MarylandWanda A. Hendricks, University of South CarolinaDarlene Clark Hine, Northwestern UniversityChana Kai Lee, University of GeorgiaJennifer L. Morgan, New York UniversityNell Irvin Painter, Newark, New JerseyMerline Pitre, Texas Southern UniversityBarbara Ransby, University of Illinois at ChicagoJulie Saville, University of ChicagoBrenda Elaine Stevenson, University of California, Los AngelesUla Taylor, University of California, BerkeleyRosalyn Terborg-Penn, Morgan State UniversityDeborah Gray White, Rutgers UniversityThe 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, illuminating how they entered and navigated 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 the fields of African American and African American women's history. The contributors are Elsa Barkley Brown, Mia Bay, Leslie Brown, Crystal N. Feimster, Sharon Harley, Wanda A. Hendricks, Darlene Clark Hine, Chana Kai Lee, Jennifer L. Morgan, Nell Irvin Painter, Merline Pitre, Barbara Ransby, Julie Saville, Brenda Elaine Stevenson, Ula Taylor, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, and Deborah Gray White. The editor is Deborah Gray White.—>

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807889121
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 11/30/2009
Series: Gender and American Culture
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Deborah Gray White is Board of Governors Professor of History at Rutgers University. Her previous books include Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994 and Ar'n't I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction: A Telling History   Deborah Gray White     1
Un Essai d'Ego-Histoire   Nell Irvin Painter     28
Becoming a Black Woman's Historian   Darlene Clark Hine     42
A Journey through History   Merline Pitre     58
Being and Thinking outside of the Box: A Black Woman's Experience in Academia   Rosalyn Terborg-Penn     72
My History in History   Deborah Gray White     85
The Politics of Memory and Place: Reflections of an African American Female Scholar   Sharon Harley     101
History without Illusion   Julie Saville     135
On the Margins: Creating a Space and Place in the Academy   Wanda A. Hendricks     146
History Lessons   Brenda Elaine Stevenson     158
The Death of Dry Tears   Ula Taylor     172
Looking Backward in Order to Go Forward: Black Women Historians and Black Women's History   Mia Bay     182
Journey toward a Different Self: The Defining Power of Illness, Race, and Gender   Chana Kai Lee     200
Bodies of History   Elsa Barkley Brown     215
Experiencing Black Feminism   Jennifer L. Morgan     228
Dancing on the Edges of History, but Never Dancing Alone   Barbara Ransby     240
How a Hundred Years of History Tracked Me Down   Leslie Brown     252
Not So Ivory: African American Women Historians Creating Academic Communities   Crystal N. Feimster     270
Contributors     285

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From the Publisher

This is a compelling collection of essays by a distinguished group of women who have made history in a double sense--through both their lives and their writings. More than merely autobiography, this volume illuminates the manifold ways that legacies of slavery and Jim Crow have shaped knowledge production as well as the producers of knowledge. Together, these essays document the emergence of black women's voices in powerful ways that inform, instruct, and inspire. This book will change lives--and even the writing of history.--Eileen Boris, University of California, Santa Barbara

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