Private Politics and Public Voices

Private Politics and Public Voices

Black Women’s Activism from World War I to the New Deal
Nikki Brown
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/28/2006
ISBN: 978-0-253-11239-2
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Winner, 2007 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize

This political history of middle-class African American women during World War I focuses on their patriotic activity and social work. Nearly 200,000 African American men joined the Allied forces in France. At home, black clubwomen raised more than $125 million in wartime donations and assembled "comfort kits" for black soldiers, with chocolate, cigarettes, socks, a bible, and writing materials. Given the hostile racial climate of the day, why did black women make considerable financial contributions to the American and Allied war effort? Brown argues that black women approached the war from the nexus of the private sphere of home and family and the public sphere of community and labor activism. Their activism supported their communities and was fueled by a personal attachment to black soldiers and black families. Private Politics and Public Voices follows their lives after the war, when they carried their debates about race relations into public political activism.

Author Bio

Nikki Brown is Associate Professor and Head of the History Department at Grambling State University in Louisiana.

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Table of Contents

1. Patriotism and Jim Crow
2. Investigations of the Southern Black Working Class
3. Volunteering with the Red Cross and the YWCA
4. Supporting Black Doughboys in France
5. Gender Relations and the New Negro
6. National Party Politics through the Depression