“Determined to Rise”: Women’s Historic Activism for Equal Rights

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The Newberry Library

60 West Walton Street

Chicago, IL 60610

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The National Women’s History Museum is proud to collaborate with organizations nationwide to host Determined to Rise.

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Topic: Chicago’s African American Women in the Fight for the Vote

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Black women played an active role in the struggle for universal suffrage. Chicago was a vibrant scene of political meetings, conventions, and organized societies where African American women outlined strategies to gain the right to vote. Yet despite their efforts, Black women were often marginalized from these struggles based on their race. In a conversation moderated by the Newberry’s Liesl Olson and co-sponsored by the National Women’s History Museum and the Newberry Library, scholars Tikia K. Hamilton, Wanda Hendricks, and Kenvi Phillips will explore the role of African American women in the fight for suffrage.

Panelists:

  • Dr. Tikia K. Hamilton graduated in 2015 from Princeton University with a Ph.D. in History. While at Princeton, she conducted research on the efforts of African Americans to overcome the racial disparities that existed under the segregated school system in Washington, D.C. prior to Brown v. Board. Currently, she is a fellow-in-residence at The Newberry Library, where she is completing revisions for her first book, Making a Model System: The Battle for Educational Equality in the Nation’s Capital Before Brown. Dr. Hamilton also holds a Masters in African American Studies from Columbia University and a B.A. from Dartmouth College, where she conducted extensive research in the area of black women's history and organizational activism. Possessing over a decade of teaching experience, Dr. Hamilton also has taught in various settings, including Princeton, the Latin School of Chicago, Sidwell in Washington, D.C., and Fieldston in New York City. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, including the National Association of Education’s Spencer Fellowship, the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and Columbia University’s Paul Robeson Fellowship. Dr. Hamilton also was a recipient of the UCLA Summer Research Fellowship, under which she researched black women’s resistance strategies in the post-Emancipation period. She is also operates Triple Ivy Writing and Educational Solutions.
  • Dr. Wanda Henricks, Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of South Carolina, received her Ph.D. from Purdue University. Her most recent book Fannie Barrier Williams: Crossing the Borders of Region and Race (University of Illinois Press, 2014) is the first biography of one of the most influential African American intellectuals and reformers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The book was awarded the Letitia Woods Brown prize by the Association of Black Women Historians. She is also the author of Gender, Race, and Politics: Black Club Women in Illinois (Indiana University Press, 1998) and several articles and essays that include “On the Margins: Creating a Space and Place in the Academy” in Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower (University of North Carolina Press, 2008). She served as a senior editor of the three volume Black Women in America: Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2005) and is currently an editor of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality in American History Series at the University of Illinois Press. She is now completing a book manuscript on the life of Madie Beatrice Hall Xuma. A transnational study, the book explores the ways in which an African American woman negotiated Jim Crow America, navigated the institutionalization of apartheid South Africa and traversed race, classed and gendered global geographies during the Cold War.
  • Dr. Kenvi Phillips is the Curator for Race and Ethnicity at the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University. An accomplished historian, she holds an MA in public history and a PhD in US history from Howard University. Before arriving at the Schlesinger, she worked at the Mary McLeod Bethune House in Washington, DC, and the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
  • Moderator: Dr. Liesl Olson is Director of Chicago Studies at the Newberry. Her research interests include twentieth-century literature, modernism, critical theory, feminism, and the visual arts. She is the author of Chicago Renaissance: The Midwest and Modernism (Yale U P, 2017), a history of the literary and cultural centrality of Chicago in the first half of the twentieth century; and Modernism and the Ordinary (Oxford U P, 2009), which examines a broad range of twentieth-century works that represent the habitual and unselfconscious actions of everyday life. From 2005-2009 Olson taught at the University of Chicago as a Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Humanities Division. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Olson completed her doctorate in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and her BA from Stanford University.
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The Newberry Library

60 West Walton Street

Chicago, IL 60610

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