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Celebrating Black Women

in American Culture and History:

Black History Month 2012

an Exhibition

February 1, 2012 – February 29, 2012

curated by
Laurie Rizzo





The Association for the Study of African American Life and History has dedicated Black History Month 2012 to exploring African American women’s roles in and contributions to American history. In the face of extreme challenges and oppression due to both their race and gender, these Black female Americans made lasting contributions to American society, politics, history and culture for which we celebrate them.






Sarah H. Bradford.

Scenes in the life of Harriet Tubman. Auburn [N.Y.] W.J. Moses, printer, 1869.

Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman (1820–1913) was an abolitionist who helped to free over seventy people through the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. She was known as “Moses of her people.”



Alice Dunbar Nelson

Handwritten Poem, “Completion of ‘I am an American’ by Elias Lieberman in Lewis & Roland 8th Reader,” undated. Alice Dunbar Nelson papers.

Educator, journalist, civil rights activist, and suffragette Nelson (1875–1935) campaigned tirelessly throughout the 1920s and 1930s for African Americans’ and women’s rights.


“Negro Poet’s Widow to Devote Herself to Suffrage Cause,” Evening Ledger, Philadelphia, August 7, 1915. Page from Alice Dunbar Nelson’s Scrapbook No. 3, 1915.

Nelson kept diaries and scrapbooks which detail her personal and professional activities. On display is a page from her women’s suffrage scrapbook.




Zora Neale Hurston.

Zora Neale Hurston: a Life in Letters. Collected and edited by Carla Kaplan. New York: Doubleday, 2002.

During the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston(1891–1960) was an influential author. She conducted anthropological and folklore research in the Caribbean and the American South which became the basis of many of her later works.


Sonia Sanchez.

A Blues Book for Blue Black Magical Women. Detroit, Mich.: Broadside Press, [1974].

Poet Sonia Sanchez (b. 1934) was active in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. In 1965 she began her teaching career and established courses in black studies. She was a professor at Temple University (1977–1999) and continues to be a frequent lecturer at universities across the country.



Alice Walker.

In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1983].

Author and activist Alice Walker (b. 1944) was the first Black woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The Color Purple.





Photograph of Pauline Young at the NAACP meeting in St. Louis Missouri, 1977. Pauline Young papers.

Educator and activist Pauline Young (1900–1991) received numerous awards throughout her lifetime for her work in education and black history.




Negro Digest, June 1968 and Sept/Oct 1968 issues. Pauline Young papers.

This publication features the works of Black poets Mari Evans Gwendolyn Brooks, and Sonia Sanchez.



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02/01/12

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