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Spelman College Ida B. Wells Distinguished Lecture Series

Class of 2016 Explores Work by Melissa Harris-Perry

"The struggle for recognition is the nexus of human identity and national identity, where much of the most important work of politics occurs.  African American women fully embody this struggle.  By studying the lives of Black women, we gain important insight into how citizens yearn for and work toward recognition.”
-- Melissa Harris-Perry, Introduction, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011)

Dear Class of 2016:

We know you have begun reading Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, and we are ready to unpack it (so to speak) with you as soon as you get to campus. So be ready!

Here are a couple of questions we would like for you to think about as you move through the book:

  • What does Melissa Harris-Perry mean by full citizenship?
  • What does the subtitle For Colored Girls Who Considered Politics When Being Strong Is not Enough mean in the context of a book about full citizenship? Have you read Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem? Seen the movie? Seen a theatrical production? Read the choreopoem?  (hmmm…we asked that already. Hint!).
  • Which chapter did you find most compelling? Why?

Strongly Suggested Readings and Videos by Black Women Scholars and Activists:

Please visit our Ida B. Wells Distinguished Lecture Series area as well for upcoming lectures

Happy reading and thinking,


Sister  and Brother Professors and Free Thinkers: 

Fatemeh Shafiei, Dorian Crosby, Desiree Pedescleaux, Marilyn Davis, and Tinaz Pavri
(Political Science)
Richard Benson (Education Studies Program)
Kathleen Phillips-Lewis (History)
Beverly Guy-Sheftall (English and Comparative Women’s Studies)
Mona Taylor Phillips (Sociology and Anthropology, Teaching Resource and Research Center)
Al-Yasha Williams (Philosophy and Religious Studies)
Karen Brakke (Psychology)

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