Plenary on Black Women's History

Sarah Lawrence College's Women's History Conference

Life and Labor: Black Women's Narrative of Resistance in the Twentieth Century

Saturday, March 5th, 3:45-5:45pm

1 Mead Way

Bronxville, NY

Contributing to the field of African American women’s history, this panel sheds light on social change agents from a variety of social backgrounds during the twentieth century. The presenters explore the leadership of African American women serving as domestic workers, black power activists, and political figures. Their life histories represent powerful narratives of resistance and resilience. Kellie Carter Jackson (Assistant Professor of History, Hunter College) interrogates the role of employers of black women domestic workers in the North through an examination of the labor conditions of her maternal grandmother, Ethel Phillips. Mary Phillips (Assistant Professor of African American Studies, Lehman College) analyzes Ericka Huggins revolutionary concept of feminism, the strategies she utilized in combating male chauvinism in the Black Panther Party, and her thoughts on the Women’s Liberation Movement. Robyn Spencer (Assistant Professor of History, Lehman College) recasts the history of Black radicals in the Black Power movement through the experiences of one of its most iconic figures, Angela Davis. Zinga A. Fraser (Assistant Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies and Africana Studies, Brooklyn College) examines Shirley Chisholm’s theories in relationship to the intersection of feminism and Black Power.


Deirdre Cooper Owens, Ph.D., Queens College


Kellie Carter Jackson, Ph.D., Hunter College

Mary Phillips, Ph.D., Lehman College

Robyn Spencer, Ph.D., Lehman College

Zinga A. Fraser, Ph.D., Brooklyn College

Registration is Required for this Free Event

Plenary Chair: Deirdre Cooper Owens

Deirdre Cooper Owens is an Assistant Professor of History at Queens College, CUNY. She holds an M.A. in African American Studies from Clark Atlanta University and a Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles where she also received a certificate in Women’s Studies. Cooper Owens has received numerous awards and fellowships including a residential postdoctoral fellowship at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia and an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Fellowship to explore medicine, gender and the historical influence of race on each of these categories. Her forthcoming book, "Mothers of Gynecology: Slavery, Race, and The Birth of Professional Women's Medicine," is under contract with The University of Georgia Press, Race and Atlantic World Series. Professor Cooper Owens has taught at a number of colleges and universities where she focused on classes that emphasized United States slavery, race, gender, and medicine.