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Black Women and Politics in New York City

Julie A. Gallagher

Publication Year: 2012

Julie A. Gallagher documents six decades of politically active black women in New York City who waged struggles for justice, rights, and equality not through grassroots activism but through formal politics. In tracing the paths of black women activists from women's clubs and civic organizations to national politics--including appointments to presidential commissions, congressional offices, and even a presidential candidacy--Gallagher also articulates the vision of politics the women developed and its influence on the Democratic party and its policies. Deftly examining how race, gender, and the structure of the state itself shape outcomes, she exposes the layers of power and discrimination at work in all sectors of U.S. society.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Women in American History


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

The conclusion of a project long in the making, as this book was, offers a much-anticipated moment of rest and more than that, a chance to reflect on the journey that brought it about. I have been fortunate on so many fronts, and it is a pleasure to acknowledge the people who have helped me get to this point. ...

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pp. 1-10

“I stand before you today as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States. I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud. I am not the candidate of the Women’s Movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I am equally proud of that. . . . I am the candidate of the people ...

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1. Fighting for Rights in the 1910s and 1920s

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pp. 11-45

“I could see only one way to freedom—nationalism. Although the word ‘nationalism’ was not in my vocabulary, I knew that somehow the great talent and spirit of Negroes must be developed into a unified voice to demand not alms, but its birthright. This was my mood as I joined the professional staff of the Harlem YWCA,” ...

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2. Strides Forward in Times of Crisis in the 1930s and 1940s

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pp. 46-86

“The attitude of the public toward the woman in the professions,” Ruth Whitehead Whaley explained in a 1931 interview with the Afro-American, “is still inimical. It puts her on the defensive. Men get the notion that because she has more freedom than the woman who makes her home her career, she is just as free in her morals. ...

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3. Pushing Through the Doors of Resistance in the 1950s

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pp. 87-120

“Women form the majority of voters in Harlem, and it is time they took a stand in the political affairs of the community,” Bessie Buchanan declared in July 1954.1 At the time of her pronouncement, Buchanan was the Democratic Party candidate for the twelfth district of the New York State Assembly located in the Harlem section of Manhattan. ...

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4. Feminism, Civil Rights, and Liberalism in the 1960s

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pp. 121-156

Racial discrimination and social injustices in jobs, housing, education, and politics—problems that women had been fighting for the past four decades— were now raised before leaders of the liberal political establishment at the national level. A select number of black women, most of whom had honed their organizing, leadership, and advocacy skills ...

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5. On the Shirley Chisholm Trail in the 1960s and 1970s

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pp. 157-190

When the Ninety-first Congress convened in January 1969, the Democratic caucus gathered to approve the committee assignments for the new session. Shirley Chisholm of Brooklyn, the first black woman elected to the House of Representatives, found her committee assignment unacceptable, and she stood up to protest. ...

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pp. 191-200

In her autobiography, The Good Fight, which documents her run for the nation’s highest office, Shirley Chisholm poignantly recounted the speech she gave at the Democratic National Convention in July 1972. “What I said that night was that most people had thought I would never stand there, in that place, but there I was. ...


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pp. 201-204


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pp. 205-240


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pp. 241-249

About the Author, Further Reading, Publication Information

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252094101
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252036965

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Women in American History
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OCLC Number: 808215661
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Black Women and Politics in New York City

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Subject Headings

  • African American women -- Political activity -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • African American women -- Civil rights -- New York (State) -- New York.
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