Too Heavy a Load by Deborah Gray White
Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994

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Synopsis

A history of the struggle of black women to attain equality and break away from exploitation. At the turn of the century, when African-Americans faced lyching, mob violence, segregation, and disenfranchisement, African-American women stepped forward with a plan of organized resistance. Thus began a century of black women organizing on behalf of their race and themselves. This work explores the efforts of black women to define and explain themselves as well as race and gender issues to white and black men. This history highlights their persistent struggle against racism, male chauvinism and negative stereotypes; it also brings to light and celebrates early 20th-century African-American women's unlauded support for women's rights, civil rights, and civil liberties. The book covers how black women sought to hold their race and gender identity in balance while being pulled in different directions by the agendas of white women and black men. Finally, it tells the larger story of how Americans began the century measuring racial progress by the status of black women but gradually became to focus primarily on the status of black men - the masculinization of America's racial consciousness.
 

About Deborah Gray White

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Deborah Gray White is professor of history and co-director of the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis at Rutgers University. She is also the author of Too Heavy a Load .
 
Published November 1, 1998 by W W Norton & Co Inc. 320 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction

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Conflicts arose within black women’s organizations, so much so that “by the end of the Depression and war decades there was no viable national Black woman’s organization that was truly the —Voice of Negro Womanhood.— — The masses of black women regarded those females who put gender consciousness ...

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Unlike their white counterparts, White notes, black women saw themselves as peers to black men in community-building activities, but conflict arose when the granting of women's suffrage coincided with the rise of a ""self-consciously militant black male"" in the wake of WWI.

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