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Healthcare Summit

Spelman College Healthcare Summit Speakers

Beverly Guy-Sheftall, C’66, Ph.D.


Moderator: The Demystification of Black Women’s Bodies: In Search of Health Equity in an Era of Racism, Sexism and Gender Discrimination

Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center (1981) and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College. For many years, she was a visiting professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies where she taught graduate courses in Women’s Studies. At the age of 16, she entered Spelman College where she majored in English and minored in secondary education.  

After graduating with honors, Guy-Sheftall attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts for a fifth year of study in English. In 1968, she came back to Atlanta to pursue a master’s degree in English; her thesis was titled, “Faulkner’s Treatment of Women in His Major Novels.” A year later, she began her first teaching job in the Department of English at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1971, she returned to her alma mater Spelman College and joined the Department of English.

She has published a number of texts within African American and Women’s Studies, which have been noted as seminal works by other scholars, including the first anthology on Black women’s literature, "Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Women in Literature" (Doubleday, 1980), which she co-edited with Roseann P. Bell and Bettye Parker Smith; her dissertation, "Daughters of Sorrow: Attitudes Toward Black Women," 1880-1920 (Carlson, 1991); "Words of Fire:  An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought" (New Press, 1995); an anthology she co-edited with Rudolph Byrd titled "Traps: African American Men on Gender and Sexuality" (Indiana University Press, 2001); a book co-authored with Johnnetta Betsch Cole, "Gender Talk: The Struggle for Women’s Equality in African American Communities" (Random House, 2003); an anthology, "I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde," co-edited with Rudolph P. Bryd, Johnnetta B. Cole, and Guy-Sheftall (Oxford University Press, 2009); an anthology, "Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies" (Feminist Press, 2010), with Stanlie James and Frances Smith Foster. 

Her most recent publication (SUNY Press, 2010) is an anthology co-edited with Johnnetta B. Cole, "Who Should Be First: Feminists Speak Out on the 2008 Presidential Campaign." In 1983, she became founding co-editor of Sage: A Scholarly Journal of Black Women, which was devoted exclusively to the experiences of women of African descent. She is the past president of the National Women’s Studies Association and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017).