"We, too, are Americans": African American women, citizenship, and civil rights activism in Detroit and Richmond, 1940-1954

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/284135
Title:
"We, too, are Americans": African American women, citizenship, and civil rights activism in Detroit and Richmond, 1940-1954
Author:
Taylor Shockley, Megan Newbury
Issue Date:
2000
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation explores the activities of middle- and working-class African American women during and immediately after World War II in Detroit and Richmond, Virginia, in order to examine how World War II enabled African American women to negotiate new state structures in order to articulate citizenship in a way that located them within the state as contributors to the war effort and legitimated their calls for equality. This study provides a new understanding of the groundwork that lay behind the civil rights activism of the 1950s and 1960s. By looking at African American women's wartime protest and exploring how those women created templates for activism and networks for the dissemination of new discourses about citizenship, it reveals the gendered roots of the civil rights movement. This study uses a cross-class analysis within a cross-regional analysis in order to understand how African American women of different socioeconomic levels transformed their relationship with the state in order to use state structures to gain equality in diverse regions of the country. Class and region framed African American women's possibilities for activism. In both Detroit and Richmond, women's class positions and local government structures affected how African American women constructed claims to citizenship and maintained activist strategies to promote equality. This study finds that the new discourse and programs of middle-class African American women, linked with the attempts of working-class women to gain and retain jobs and better living conditions, contributed to a new sense of militancy and urgency within the civil rights movement of the 1940s and 1950s. By attempting to claim their rights based solely on their status as citizens within the state, African American women greatly contributed to the groundwork and the ideology of the more aggressive civil rights campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s. African American women's initial forays into desegregating restaurants, jobs, transportation, and housing created the momentum for the entire African American community's struggle for equality.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
History, Black.; History, United States.; Women's Studies.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; History
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Anderson, Karen

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.title"We, too, are Americans": African American women, citizenship, and civil rights activism in Detroit and Richmond, 1940-1954en_US
dc.creatorTaylor Shockley, Megan Newburyen_US
dc.contributor.authorTaylor Shockley, Megan Newburyen_US
dc.date.issued2000en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation explores the activities of middle- and working-class African American women during and immediately after World War II in Detroit and Richmond, Virginia, in order to examine how World War II enabled African American women to negotiate new state structures in order to articulate citizenship in a way that located them within the state as contributors to the war effort and legitimated their calls for equality. This study provides a new understanding of the groundwork that lay behind the civil rights activism of the 1950s and 1960s. By looking at African American women's wartime protest and exploring how those women created templates for activism and networks for the dissemination of new discourses about citizenship, it reveals the gendered roots of the civil rights movement. This study uses a cross-class analysis within a cross-regional analysis in order to understand how African American women of different socioeconomic levels transformed their relationship with the state in order to use state structures to gain equality in diverse regions of the country. Class and region framed African American women's possibilities for activism. In both Detroit and Richmond, women's class positions and local government structures affected how African American women constructed claims to citizenship and maintained activist strategies to promote equality. This study finds that the new discourse and programs of middle-class African American women, linked with the attempts of working-class women to gain and retain jobs and better living conditions, contributed to a new sense of militancy and urgency within the civil rights movement of the 1940s and 1950s. By attempting to claim their rights based solely on their status as citizens within the state, African American women greatly contributed to the groundwork and the ideology of the more aggressive civil rights campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s. African American women's initial forays into desegregating restaurants, jobs, transportation, and housing created the momentum for the entire African American community's struggle for equality.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectHistory, Black.en_US
dc.subjectHistory, United States.en_US
dc.subjectWomen's Studies.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineHistoryen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorAnderson, Karenen_US
dc.identifier.proquest9965942en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b40486631en_US
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