Private Politics and Public Voices: Black Women's Activism from World War I to the New Deal

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Indiana University Press, Dec 28, 2006 - Social Science - 208 pages

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.

 

Contents

1 Patriotism and Jim Crow
1
2 Investigations of the SouthernBlack Working Class
30
3 Volunteering with the Red Crossand the YWCA
66
4 Supporting Black Doughboys in France
84
5 Gender Relations and the New Negro
108
6 National Party Politics throughthe Depression
136
Notes
161
Index
187
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About the author (2006)

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

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