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Ida B. Wells-Barnett Distinguished Lecture Series Addresses Contemporary Issues Impacting Women Share a Spelman College Press Release


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Terrilyn Simmons
404-270-5822 (office)

Renowned activists, authors and professors Angela Y. Davis and Melissa Harris-Perry to give public lectures on "More than a Vote: Women’s Struggle for Full Citizenship."

ATLANTA (Aug. 27, 2012) -- With work centered on political and social freedom, renowned activists, authors and professors Angela Y. Davis and Melissa Harris-Perry will help contextualize the unique political issues of women when they lecture on the theme "More than a Vote: Women’s Struggle for Full Citizenship" as part of the Spelman College Ida B.Wells-Barnett Distinguished Lecture Series. Organized through the College’s Teaching Resource and Research Center, this interdisciplinary initiative aims to stimulate reading and inquiry focused on contemporary issues that impact and influence women.

Named for the well-known Black woman intellectual, Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931), the series will allow students with a range of academic majors, but an interest in social justice and politics, to explore the role of women, activism and scholarship in today’s political climate.

"As the theme suggests, we want to engage students beyond voting and the mechanics of elections,” said Mona Phillips, Ph.D., professor of sociology and director of the Teaching Resource and Research Center. “Instead, we want our students to think critically about women’s lives and identities - specifically how they perceive themselves as citizens and how this perception gives meaning to their political involvement. We also want to think about the particular issues that define the quality of women’s citizenship.”

Modeling Wells-Barnett’s persuasive use of both prose and quantitative data in national and international social justice movements, students will be encouraged to employ various methods of investigation to help them think freely about the relationship between inquiry and activism. In addition to lectures, over the course of the 2012-2013 academic year, students will take part in group discussions and film screenings facilitated by faculty from several departments including philosophy, political science, history, comparative women’s studies, biology and English.

Davis' and Harris-Perry’s lectures are free and open to the public, and will be followed by book signings. Davis will sign copies of her book The Meaning of Freedom, and Other Difficult Dialogues (2012) and Harris-Perry will sign copies of her book Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (2011).  

“Like Ida B. Wells-Barnett, both Professors Davis and Harris-Perry exemplify the strong link between scholarship and political activism,” said Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., president of Spelman College. “I know our community will be both challenged and inspired by their keen insights and calls to action.” 

Lecture Schedule:
Professor Angela Y. Davis

September 17, 2012
Lecture 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Book Signing 7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sisters Chapel, Spelman College

Professor Melissa Harris-Perry
February 21, 2013
Lecture 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Book Signing 7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Cosby Academic Center Auditorium and Lobby, Spelman College

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About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, Ga., the college’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman; Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer; JPMorgan Chase Foundation President Kimberly Davis; former acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley; Harvard College Dean Evelyn Hammonds; author Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. For more information, visit


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