Acclaimed Author Dr. Paula Giddings Highlights Black History Month at Berea College


Dr. Paula Giddings, critically acclaimed author and professor at Smith College will present, “Ida B. Wells and the Beginning of the Modern Civil Rights Movement” during a Carter G. Woodson Memorial convocation on February 16 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel at Berea College.

Giddings has given herself the formidable and revolutionary task of recovering the lost voices of silent generations of American black women. On the topic of the social and political history of African American women, Giddings has written three books. Her first book, “When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America” was described as “history at its best” by Giddings’ former colleague and Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, Toni Morrison. Publishers Weekly correctly predicted that it would become a standard in its field and The Women’s Review of Books called it the “best interpretation of black women and race and sex that we have.”

In 1988 Giddings wrote her second book, “In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement.” This book detailed how the Howard University Sorority Delta Sigma Theta’s mission was to educate its members of political change and civil rights legislation. Critics quickly praised the book and a review in the Washington Post gave Giddings “a hearty cheer for bringing to the fore yet another piece of overlooked black women’s history.” The Los Angeles Times said the book “succeeds as a detailed study of an organization that has touched the lives of some of the most prominent black women in America.”

Most recently, Giddings wrote the critically acclaimed biography of anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells, “Ida: A Sword among Lions.” She is also the editor of “Burning All Illusions,” an anthology of articles on race published by “The Nation” magazine from 1867 to 2000. Giddings articles have been published by magazines such as the “Washington Post,” the “New York Times,” the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” “Jeune Afrique” (Paris), and “The Nation” among other publications.

Giddings joined Smith College in 2001 and is the senior editor of “Meridians,” a peer-reviewed feminist, interdisciplinary journal and provides an outlet for creative and scholarly work by and about women of color in U.S. and international contexts. Giddings has served as the Afro-American Studies department chair and honors thesis adviser.

Prior to attaining the position of professor of Afro-American studies at Smith College, Giddings taught at Spelman College where she was a United Negro Fund Distinguished Scholar; Douglass College/Rutgers University as the Laurie Chair in Women’s Studies; and Princeton and Duke Universities.

This is one of several events that celebrate Black History Month, an annual observance began as Black History Week by Berea College alumnus Carter G. Woodson, 1903, known as the “Father of Black History.” On February 18 at 5:30 p.m., the annual Unity Banquet will feature Dr. Adam Banks, associate professor of writing, rhetoric and digital media at the University of Kentucky. He is the author of “Race, Rhetoric, and Technology: Searching for Higher Ground and African American Rhetoric in a Multimedia Age.” Contact Amber Davis, interim director of the Black Cultural Center, at amber_davis to reserve tickets. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for non-students.

Categories: News, People
Tags: Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson Center, Convocation, race, Women's and Gender Studies Department

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College admits only academically promising students with limited financial resources, primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia, although students come from 40 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally-recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly, earning money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.