Skip to main content

UMass Lowell Library Resources on Racism in the United States

Books: Black Women

Black Female Undergraduates on Campus

Since 1976, increased attention has been paid to the diminishing numbers of Black males in higher education, and rightly so: the total numerical enrollments of Black female undergraduates has outstripped their male counterparts by a factor of nearly 2 to 1. Since intervention, however, the enrollment growth rate among Black males (60 per cent) exceeded that of Black females (40 per cent) (NCES, 2008). Needless to say, this good news was welcomed by many. However, as Cole & Guy-Sheftall (2003) have pointed out, it may be misguided to assume that improving the status of black men will single-handedly solve all the complex problems facing African American communities. Are we indirectly neglecting Black females? And what of their future? The purpose of "Black Female Undergraduates on Campus" is to identify both successes and challenges faced by Black female students accessing and matriculating through institutions of higher education. In illuminating the interactive complexities between persons and place, this volume is aimed toward garnering an understanding of the educational trajectories and experiences of Black females, independent of and in comparison to their peers. Special attention is paid to women pursuing careers in the high demand fields of teacher education and STEM.

Arrested Justice

Black women in marginalized communities are uniquely at risk of battering, rape, sexual harassment, stalking and incest. Through the compelling stories of Black women who have been most affected by racism, persistent poverty, class inequality, limited access to support resources or institutions, Beth E. Richie shows that the threat of violence to Black women has never been more serious, demonstrating how conservative legal, social, political and economic policies have impacted activism in the US-based movement to end violence against women. Richie argues that Black women face particular peril because of the ways that race and culture have not figured centrally enough in the analysis of the causes and consequences of gender violence. As a result, the extent of physical, sexual and other forms of violence in the lives of Black women, the various forms it takes, and the contexts within which it occurs are minimized--at best--and frequently ignored. Arrested Justice brings issues of sexuality, class, age, and criminalization into focus right alongside of questions of public policy and gender violence, resulting in a compelling critique, a passionate re-framing of stories, and a call to action for change.

Opportunity Denied

Blacks and Whites. Men and Women. Historically, each group has held very different types of jobs. The divide between these jobs was stark--clean or dirty, steady or inconsistent, skilled or unskilled. In such a rigidly segregated occupational landscape, race and gender radically limited labor opportunities, relegating Black women to the least desirable jobs. Opportunity Denied is the first comprehensive look at changes in race, gender, and women's work across time, comparing the labor force experiences of Black women to White women, Black men and White men. Enobong Hannah Branch merges empirical data with rich historical detail, offering an original overview of the evolution of Black women's work. From free Black women in 1860 to Black women in 2008, the experience of discrimination in seeking and keeping a job has been determinedly constant. Branch focuses on occupational segregation before 1970 and situates the findings of contemporary studies in a broad historical context, illustrating how inequality can grow and become entrenched over time through the institution of work.

A Broken Silence

This book addresses the interlocking systems of race and gender in institutions of higher education in America. The study is based on empirical data from African American women of various disciplines in faculty and administrative positions at traditionally white colleges and universities. It focuses primarily on narratives of the women in terms of how they are affected by racism, as well as sexism as they perform their duties in their academic environments. The findings suggest that a common thread exists relative to the experiences of the women. The book challenges and dispels the myth that Black progress has led to equality for African American women in the academy. The results of this study make it even more critical that the voices of African American women be heard and their experiences in the academy be expressed. This may be one way to inform academic and lay readers that racism and sexism are not dead.