Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Founder's Day: Paula Giddings

Paula Giddings
The researcher, historian, author and professor is Paula Giddings. She dedicates her life to the spirit of Sankofa.She looks forward  by looking backwards to accomplished Black women- whose stories had been abbreviated by history books. Paula Giddings tells herstory. She has written the definitive biography of Ida B. Wells in A Sword Among Lions. Two of her books, In Search of Sisterhood and When and Where I Enter are tattered and torn from rereads on my bookshelf. In Search of Sisterhood chronicles the story of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and When and Where I Enter examines the impact of race and sex on Black women.
When and Where do I Enter asks and answers hard to answer questions.The history of Black women is not always celebratory, and Paula Giddings goes there. Taboo words such as submission, feminism, skin color caste systems, prejudice, racism, rape and gender oppression are discussed and well-documented. The reader gains insight into the life of honorary Delta, Mary McLeod Bethune, who at the age of sixty-one,was wearing three hats. She was president of the NCNW, the president of Bethune-Cookman College, and an appointee to the National Administration agency. Bethune's arduous work, behind the scenes in the Roosevelt Administration, laid the foundation for many programs that youth still reap the benefits of. In spite of Bethune's success, the reader experiences the disenfranchisement of Shirley Chisholm's candidacy that was destroyed due to sexism at the hands of Black and White men. Other women discussed in the book are Mary Church Terrell (Delta),Sojourner Truth, Lucy C. Laney, Anna Julia Cooper,Fannie Lou Hamer, and myriad others. Giddings wrote, "The election of Richard Nixon paralleled the demise of the civil/rights/Black Power movement- a demise hastened by the exclusion of Black women from leadership ranks." Hence, the question:when and where do I enter?

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