Beyond Respectability: Centering Black Women as Agents of Change


Jun. 7 2017, Published 8:00 p.m. ET

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COST: free

VENUE: New America

ADDRESS: 740 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA

Join New America’s Family-Centered Social Policy program for a conversation with Professor Brittney Cooper, author of Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women, about centering the narratives, experiences, and leadership of Black women as essential to charting a better future for us all.

Addressing the crowd at the Women’s March on Washington, civil rights activist and scholar Angela Davis said, "We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages.” While the March asserted the power of collective representation in mounting resistance, persistent blindspots compromise the institutions working to maintain it. 

Recently, for example, a group of Black women civic and political leaders enumerated the leadership that Black women are taking to mobilize voters, run for office, and organize communities without support from, or key representation within, the Democratic National Committee. “There’s too much at stake,” reads the letter to DNC chairman Tom Perez, “to ignore Black women.”

In her new book, Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women, Cooper documents the development of African American women as public intellectuals and the evolution of their thought leadership from the end of the 1800s through the Black Power era of the 1970s. Her book provides critical insights and inspiration for recognizing and prioritizing Black women as agents of history and of our future.

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Join us for a conversation on the imperative to center the leadership of Black women within institutions of power and influence to achieve a society that benefits us all. We will start from the historical perspective taken in Professor Cooper’s new book and then elevate contemporary examples of where the leadership of Black women are shaping narratives and strategies in electoral politics, media, and institutional design.

A happy hour reception and book signing will follow the conversation.

Copies of Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women will be available for purchase by credit card or check.


Brittney Cooper
Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies, Rutgers University

Sabrina Hersi-Issa
CEO, Be Bold Media

Jessica Byrd
Founder and Principal Strategist, Three Point Strategies

Angela Peoples
Director, GetEQUAL

Mia Birdsong
Fellow, New America


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