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2018 Race and Resistance Lecture

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Chemistry Lecture Theatre D, University of Leeds

United Kingdom

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Women of the “Darker Races” as Global Citizens: Mary McLeod Bethune, the Founding of the United Nations, and Emergence of Black Feminism

In this address, Kim Cary Warren examines the emergence of black feminist thought through the intellectual biography of Mary McLeod Bethune, a leading advisor on race relations and the founder of the largest African American women’s organization in the US in the early twentieth century. Bethune, often referred to as the “First Lady of the Race,” served as an advisor to four presidents, opened a school that became a four-year university, and maintained a position as the leading spokesperson for African American women from the 1930s through her death in 1955. Scholars have examined Bethune’s activism and work legacies, but none has interrogated her speeches and writing as an early version of black feminism that emerged out of the context of race relations. Here, Warren responds to a call for more intellectual history of African American women and frames Bethune as an important yet understudied intellectual and a producer of knowledge. ​

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Chemistry Lecture Theatre D, University of Leeds

United Kingdom

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