Invisible Southern Black Women Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement: The Triple Constraints of Gender, Race, and Class

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In spite of their performance of highly valuable roles in the civil rights movement, southern Black women (such as Septima Poinsette Clark, McCree Harris, Shirley Sherrod, Diane Nash, Johnnie Carr, Thelma Glass, Georgia Gilmore, and JoAnn Robinson) remain a category of invisible, unsung heroes and leaders. Utilizing archival data and a subsample of personal interviews conducted with civil rights leaders, this article (1) explores the specific leadership roles of Black women activists; (2) describes the experiences of selected Black women activists from their own “standpoint”; and (3) offers explanations for the lack of recognition and non-inclusion of Black women in the recognized leadership cadre of the civil rights movement. The modern southern-based struggle is most illustrative of how the interlocking systems of gender, race, and class structure Black women's movement leadership and participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-182
Number of pages21
JournalGender & Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1993



  • African Americans
  • gender roles
  • civil rights movements
  • womens rights movements
  • women
  • men
  • womens rights
  • African American culture
  • Black people
  • Black communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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