"What do black women want?"
That's a question Rutgers professor Dr. Deborah Gray White will pursue with her University of Memphis audience when she speaks at the University Center Theater on Nov. 1.
The event is sponsored by the U of M's Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities. White's lecture topic is "Brown Sugar Melts: African American Women at the Turn of the Millennium."
White, a Board of Governors Professor of History and Women's Studies at Rutgers, received her M.A. degree from Columbia University and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has published numerous articles and written several books, with a particular research interest in African-American women's history, examining the interplay of race, gender, sexuality, and class.
Her books include "Ar'nt I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South" and "Too Heavy A Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994." She has also contributed to a new textbook about African-American history and is working on a new book called "Can't We All Just Get Along?: The Cultural Awakenings of the 1990's."
In her upcoming talk, Dr. White will explore the opinions and feelings of ordinary black women about such topics as marriage, family, gun control, and men. She examines black women's ideas about nationhood within the context of black and white America, giving voice to their anxieties and expressing their particular sense of belonging.
By analyzing groundbreaking public marches of the 1990s – the Million Man and Million Woman marches, the LBGT marches, the Promise Keeper gatherings, and the Million Mom March – she will engage with her audience about the question: "What do black women want?"
Her lecture is the keynote address of the 14th annual conference sponsored by the Graduate Association of African American History, as well as part of a weeklong celebration of events, both at the University of Memphis and at Rhodes College, in honor of the 150th birthday of the anti-lynching advocate Ida B. Wells.
There will be a reception at 6 p.m. in the University Center lobby, and the lecture will begin at 6:30. Copies of her books will be on sale and Dr. White will be available for booksigning after her talk.
Parking is available next door at the Zach Curlin Garage.