History Workshop

Spring 2016 - Tuesdays 12:30-1:45 - 203 Munroe Hall

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 ~ 12:30-1:45 pm

"Civil Rights on Vacation: Black Freedom Struggles and the Problem of Leisure"

Tiffany Gill

University of Delaware

Whether battling for dignity on public transportation or the heroics of the Freedom Riders, mobility and travel were key aspects of the African American Freedom Struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. This era was also marked by a rise in leisure travel, with international destinations growing in popularity. This paper seeks to broaden an analysis of black travel as a site of activism by examining the international journeys of African Americans during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Namely, it will look at travel to Europe and the Caribbean, especially that conducted by activists and community leaders, was covered in the black press and presented by the travelers themselves. In so doing, I will highlight how those who engaged in international travel and tourism confronted the complex, messy, and seemingly apolitical ways African Americans waged battles to be taken seriously as consumers, cosmopolitans, and global citizens.


Tiffany M. Gill is an Associate Professor in the Department of Black Studies and the Department of History at the University of Delaware. Her research and teaching interests include African American History, Women’s History, the history of black entrepreneurship, fashion and beauty studies, and travel and migration throughout the African Diaspora. She is the author of Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry (University of Illinois Press, 2010) which was awarded the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize by the Association of Black Women Historians.

The 2015-2016 academic year represents the fortieth year in which the Workshop serves as a regular part of the History Department life. Bring a lunch. All are welcome! For further information, please call (302) 831-2371.