Workshop III

Workshop III

Brian Lief “Equal Pay for Women: Venus Williams, Serena Williams, and Other Female Athletes Fight for Equal Pay”

I am focusing on the efforts by female African American athletes to fight for pay equality in athletics. I am focusing specifically on Venus and Serena Williams, as well as a few other athletes that have been active in this movement. Venus and Serena Williams have spent much of their tennis careers speaking out about pay inequality in their sport, and other sports as well. Their success in tennis and their fame have helped contribute to this message being spread throughout the media. Their efforts have included Venus Williams protesting the pay disparity between the men’s and women’s prize money for the tennis tournament Wimbledon. Serena Williams has contributed to the effort by writing opinion pieces in magazines. I will also look at how inequality between genders in athletics and contributed to pay inequality. While Venus and Serena Williams have been very active in this movement, there are other female African American athletes that have also been involved. I will cover some of these athletes as well, while mostly focusing on Venus and Serena Williams. I will look at journals, newspaper articles, and interviews to research this.

Dani Montgomery, “Black Lives Matter and the Influence, Impact, and Visibility of Black Women”

This historiographical essay examines the involvement of women in the Black Lives Matter Movement. The movement was created by black women (Alicia Garza, Patrisse Collors, and Opal Tometi) and the goal of the essay is to properly convey their impact and experiences in relation to the movement itself. Secondary sources such as From Black Lives Matter to Black LiberationandMaking All Black Lives Matterwill be compared and contrasted in order to highlight how Black Lives Matter potentially disregards, harms, or empowers and uplifts black women. The movement has changed since its official founding in 2013 and the essay will serve as a foundation for how different works and authors present these changes, finding the correlation between these structural changes and black women and their constant struggle. News coverage will also be presented in addition to the works from major authors, specifically the coverage of violence that impacts black communities. This is important when analyzing Black Lives Matter because that is the exact reason the movement was created in the first place.

Camryn Pollard, “Marissa Alexander: Good or Bad from the eye of the public”

Marissa Alexander is being prosecuted for shooting a warning shot at her husband after he threathened to put his hands on her. Now, when I write this paper, I’m going to talk about Marisaa Alexander’s case and the movements that back her up while going through this trial. I would also include how she used the stand your ground rule and how it affected her in the courtroom. Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison back in 2012 but was recently released in 2017. Overall, she didn’t deserve to get any type of sentence but taking into consideration that she’s a black woman, it made things appear to be much worse.

Tori Smith” Ida. B Wells Roll in the Black Freedom Struggle Movement Combating Gender and White Supremacy”


Thesis: Ida B Wells contribution to society post slavery was one that was defiantly against the oppression and brutality black people faced. Wells focused on absolute advancement of black people and women, not just economically, but politically and socially as well. Being a self-made black woman, Ida B. Wells took agency in her position in society to better herself and her community by publishing numerous works reflecting her activism. My study will be dedicated to evaluating her activism while battling the intersectionality of being a black woman in America.


The Road to Ending Mass Incarceration Goes Through the DA’s Office

Recently I read an article from The American Prospect titled “The Road to Ending Mass Incarceration Goes Through the DA’s Office.” Within the piece, the author discusses the current state of America’s prison system and how it disproportionately affects black people as a whole. What stood out to me about this article was how the author described the roles that prosecutors play in contributing to mass incarceration. In particular, the author states that “prosecutors bring charges, propose bail, shape plea deals, and specify penalties with little effective resistance from defense attorneys, grand juries, or judges. The district attorney’s office has become the nerve center of the penal state, the place where the ideals of American justice are translated into the realpolitik of penal control.” This stark realization makes it painfully obvious that the current prison system is initially set up for those to fail, rather than to have a chance to succeed.

In my opinion, Mass incarceration came into existence when America abandoned the War on Poverty and chose to treat social problems and wayward lives as problems for police, prosecutors, and prisons. Unless a radical change can be triggered that would bring about a transformation within America’s urban policy, then I find it very difficult to believe that these rising trends of imprisonment will cease.

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Coretta Scott King

It is Coretta Scott King’s birthday! How do I know this? Elizabeth Warren tweeted about it. Warren’s tweet is not substantive and has no links to sources or anything that recognizes Coretta S. King’s life or activism. (Anyone have opinions on performative allyship or referencing specific activists/organizations/people for political gain?) In honor of King, I wanted to share a multi-part interview with her and one specifically on her advice for young activists.

(These videos come from the The National Visionary Leadership Project (NVLP), which is the premier resource for oral history interviews with African American elders who shaped the 20th century. These might help some of us with our final projects!)

Black Women and Student Activism and the College of Wooster

This post is partly inspired by recent student activism at the College of Wooster, represented collectively by the Galpin Call-in, as well more recently students, especially students of color’s concerns about campus climate and diversity within the student body and faculty. As some of you might remember, there was also student protest (supported by faculty and staff) when a trustee made some problematic comments during fall 2016 and the accompanying letter from faculty of color. It’s also inspired by Madelyn’s post about the importance of strategizing and organizing. We’ve discussed a lot of this in class, though mainly about the past and not at the College of Wooster.

Of course, many of you know about the Galpin Call-in, and may have participated in it. But you should also know that black students , especially black women are responsible for the MLK Day celebration, which the College inaugurated in January 2014.

In the past, Susan Lee (a black alum), then an assistant dean (I might be wrong her title)/dean of multiculturalism, and co-director of what was then called the Center for Diversity and Global Engagement, held a MLK Celebration at the College that spanned the entire week.

Lee’s MLK events were often under attended and the same people, such as myself, other faculty of color and allies, supported it. The College, though it paid for it, did not support it the way it does now.  A major difference is canceling of classes, formally inviting the College and surrounding community to participate, and holding these events, etc . . . the day.  The point here is, while cancelling class for a week is untenable, that the College cancels classes for a full day now is demonstrative of the College’s full support.

Certainly, black faculty, staff, and allies among faculty and staff played a role in the establishment of this tradition at the College. But arguably, it would not have happened if several black women, such as Deja Moss, President of the BSA, (and maybe a couple of black men) did come to a faculty meeting in fall 2013 and eloquently explain why having a MLK Day, cancelling class, etc . . . was important not only to them but also the College of Wooster. This set the stage for faculty and others to carry their voices across in the faculty meeting once they left.  Put another way, they strategized, organized, and coordinated with faculty and staff, but ultimately, it was their work and voices that pulled it off.


Workshop II

Workshop II

Andrew Aldridge, “Killing Me Softly: An Observation of Hip Hop from a Feminist Lens”

This paper examines various ways women of color have fought against their portrayal in the male dominated hip hop culture, particularly their roles as music video dancers, models, and seuxalized objects. While my essay navigates questions of trying to combine feminism and hip hop, it is mainly concerned with how viewing hip-hop from a feminist perspective might enhance conversations surrounding race, class, gender, and sexuality. By examining the dichotomy between conscious and commercial rap, observing various approaches to combating sexism within the genre from Queen Latifah, Sistah Souljah, Eve, and Lauryn Hill, whose approaches differed from other artists like Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown, who mainly embodied tropes of black female hypersexuality,as well as considering the work of scholars and poets, this essay aims to add to the dialogue about the intersection of women, rap, and hip-hop feminism.

Abby Blinka, “Revolutionary Litigation: Black Women’s Work as Cause Lawyers in the Black Freedom Struggle”

My proposed final paper is on black women’s expansion of roles in the black freedom struggle, beyond the work of activists, protest organizers, and intellectuals. Specifically, this paper will emphasize black women lawyers in the twentieth century who worked against racism and sexism through litigation. This expansion of roles included women such as Constance Baker Motley, Pauli Murray, and Kimberlé Crenshaw who all had different goals and varying approaches but are were all based in legal processes. By emphasizing the legal process, that is how​the law is made rather than simply the law itself, this paper will focus on the history of black women as agents of legislative change while navigating politics of race, gender, and class.

Madelyn Cobb, “Capitalism v. Communism”

Why haven’t more radical, progressive movements lasted? In this paper I will be researching radical, progressive movements ran by black female communists and their attempts for equality and attempting to answer why these movements were not publicized, are not largely remembered today, and why they did not work.

A’Janay Nicholson, “The exclusion of Women from the Million Man March”

Black men and women have been facing social, economic, and political issues since being brought to America. If they both are receiving unjust treatment from the world then how is it that Black women were excluded from the Million Man March on October 16, 1965? The Million Man March was organized to get Black issues back on the nation’s political agenda and shed light upon issues affecting the Black community. Issues like unemployment rates, poverty rates, unjust treatment from law enforcement, and prenatal care for Black women and kids because inner city hospitals were closing. Even though Women were told to stay home, they served as the backbone of the march. There were some influential women that spoke at the march and played a big role behind the scenes such as Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, National Council of Negro President Dr. Betty Shabazz, Tynnetta Muhammad, E. Faye Williams and many more. You also had other influential Black women such as Angela Davis, who opposed the march because she thought justice cannot be served by countering a distorted and racist view of black manhood with a narrowly sexist vision of men standing “a degree above women.” Dr. Julianne Malveaux also publicly questioned why women were not invited. Looking at different primary and secondary sources helped discover different and new perspectives and interpretations about the Million Man March and the exclusion of Women. Coming into this research paper I assumed that Black women faced the same factors as men during this time. However, after analyzing articles, essays, speeches, and movies, I discovered that Black women face the same and maybe even more prejudices than their male counterparts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to see a group of Black males united, hugging, and treating their neighbor like their brother, but we can’t forget about the women who were going through similar and in some cases worse experiences than the Black men.

Juwan Shabazz, “Black Nationalism: An Analysis of Ula Taylor’s Work and The Contributions Made by Women of Color”

My essay will be split into three subsections where I will focus on analyzing two books written by Ula Y. Taylor: The Veiled Garvey and The Promise of Patriarchy: Women and the Nation of Islam. The goal of my paper will be centered towards answering larger questions around what black nationalism is, and how black women have played a role in its formation. Through using the books written by Ula Taylor, I will center the scope of my paper on the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League) and the Nation of Islam, and how black women have contributed to each movement respectfully. While Ula Taylor’s work will be incredibly important to my paper, I will also use several other pieces of work to help expand upon her ideas. In particular, I will use articles written by Karen Adler and Keisha Blain that help to further expand upon Taylor’s research while also providing a broader depth of scholarship on the topic at large.

Workshop I

Paige Clay, “The mammy caricature through film and the responses of Black women”

For my final paper I’ve decided to explore the idea of the mammy caricature through film. I’ve also ties this to our class be incorporating how black women have responded to these false assumptions. This paper will focus on six different films; Gone with the wind, Imitation game, The Birth of a Nation, the help, Big Mommas house, and Madea. I will analyze how the idea of the mammy is played out in all the films while also understanding what these stereotypes are doing to damage black women. Further more I will use first hand experiences from black women and talk about how they combat these negative stereotypes. This will also include taking about the ways in which they’ve responded and how the black freedom movement. I choose to write my final paper on this because these false representations have been diminishing black women for years. It is important to understand why and how these stereotypes are prevalent in society, so I’ve chosen to focus on this through film.

Adam Clark, “African American Women and their role on the march on Washington”

For this paper, I will be looking at how African American women played a role in the march on Washington. As we have been talking about for the entire year so far we have seen women playing huge roles in the movement. They were even involved in the march on Washington. However, their voices were silenced again due to men wanting to take all the glory. In this paper, I will be looking at how these4 women affected the march and what roles they played in the march. I will also be looking at how the women felt about being left out of the march.m Lastly I will be looking at different grassroots movements to try and connect them to the march on Washington.

Sarem Kornma, “The Me Too Movement: a Reconceptualization of Sexual Harassment”

My essay will focus on the #MeToo movement with the overall focus of  black woman through the intended lense of its founder Tarana Burke, a black female activist from The Bronx, who started the movement in 1997. There are two eras of #MeToo movement. First is when it initially began within the context of Tarana Burke’s experiences and and The second being within the context of the recent presidential elections and all of the allegations that have come with it in addition to the hollywood centered Harvey weinstein cases. This essay will not only explore Tarana efforts to put black women in the focus of the movements and how that focus has shifted but also, it will explore the effects of the rise of social media within the last two decades and how it has impacted the conversation around intersectionality, and how it has impacted organization for the #MeToo movement as a whole. I will explore questions like how is justice conceptualized in the minds of black women during the #MeToo era, and who is leading the organizations? Is there discourse happening about intersectional issues and if so what are the solutions being offered? Interestingly Tarana Burke is behind the documentary Surviving R kelly, with this being said I will also delve into her perception of the unique place of disadvantage that black woman have within their intersectionality.

Stacyann Chin and the Importance of Organization

While I was not able to attend Stacyann Chin’s event at Shoolroy Theater last night, as Co-President of Wooster’s Black Women’s Organization, I had the opportunity to sit down with Stacyann Chin for lunch with leaders of other student organizations on campus. It was a family-style lunch and we all sat at a long table. Discussion went into the direction of politics on campus and many different leaders explained various situations that have occurred on campus. Conversation seemed to often go back to racial incidents. We talked to Stacyann Chin about how hard it was to get administration to take action when students came to them about incidents on campus. Ms. Chinn asked us specifically what we wanted to come out of investigations and a lot of us said we wanted these people to be held accountable. Whether it be expulsion or revoking someone’s scholarship, many leaders called for individuals to be held accountable. Stacyann Chin did a great job of explaining to us that those types of demands are unrealistic and that it is important to organize and come up with reasonable goals and outcomes and bring those things to administration all together. When she told us this, I had never really realized or took seriously the importance of strategizing and organizing. In addition, it is important to control your emotions and not have how you feel get ahead of strategizing and organizing. Stacyann Chin offered some valuable advice and I plan to use it when it comes to racial incidents on campus. As young adults, it is often hard to think and work logically in the presences of overwhelming emotions, but after listening to Stacyann Chin, I plan to intentionally work towards doing these things.

Is Prison Necessary?


Yesterday in class, as we were discussing Carruthers’s work, we had brief discussion of Robin D. G. Kelley’s “Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination,”  and I claimed that the current Abolition Movement represented such a case.

In an article in today’s New York Times, an article, “Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind,” Gilmore,  geographer and prison abolitionist,  elaborates on this issue.

“Beautycon 2019 Puts Black Women Front and Center” & It’s About Time!!!!

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The Root posted an article April 9, 2019 headlined, “Beautycon 2019 Put Black Women Front and Center.” This shows the progress of NYC to make a conscious effort to recognize how many of the popular culture’s beauty trends stem from black culture. Historically black people have been ridiculed for their natural features and taste in fashion. Normally these facets of our culture and buried until a “whiter skinned person ‘endorses’ the look.”

For example long nails, eyelashes, bold oppositions to make-up choice were used as ammunition to shoot down the self-esteem of the black women for years. Their skin color has been deemed a threat and less sexy, yet tanning salons became a multi-million dollar industry for the unmelaninated to darken their skin. And for those that cannot benefit from this treatment created something better… spray skin (spray tan). They are so desperate to endorse our look they will literally spray paint their bodies “professionally.” This blog is not saying that the others want to be black but I am saying that the envious ridicule of Black Americans normally find its way into Popular American Culture.

NYC using their 5th ever Beautycon to put black women as the main attraction show the progression that the beauty industry has made in the last couple of years. To me it seem like ever since the introduction of Fenty Beauty products by Rihanna the world has come aware of how all their fashion choices are dependent on Black Culture. I am glad to see that envy is turning into appreciation and this shows progress.

P.S. BeautyCon LA better not retract the progress! BeautyCon LA is June.