Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Epilogue

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Epilogue

Article excerpt

In her seminal work published in 1892, educator Anna Julia Cooper stated that Black women were confronted by both a race problem and a woman question. Today, over one hundred years later, Cooper's conclusions remain an accurate description of the plight of Black women throughout the world, American society, and the academy. Each of the contributing authors to this important special issue of the Journal of Negro Education has her own story to tell about life as a Black woman in higher education. Their words present recurring themes of overt and subtle racism and sexism that can best be expressed in the common parlance that Black women use when speaking candidly to each other about their condition as college and university students, faculty members, and administrators. Drawing on a phrase born out of African American culture, these authors, through their articles, collectively confirm that Black women in the academy have "a hard row to hoe!"

Are matters better for Black women in American colleges and universities today than in the past? Of course! In previous generations, African American women were denied entry to institutions of higher education across the land precisely because they were Black, or female, or both. Today, Black women are present in the academy in greater numbers-= matriculating, teaching, and working in a variety of settings-from historically Black colleges and universities to predominantly White institutions, from co-ed campuses to women's colleges, from small liberal arts institutions to large research universities. African American women also represent a large percentage of the increase in the numbers of all African Americans in higher education.1 Yet it is critically important to acknowledge the obvious: that being present in a college or university does not mean that one is welcomed, given the support needed to gain tenure, or paid equally for equal work.

Just as Black women in American society at large have managed to "make do when don't wants to prevail," they have done the same in the academy, making substantial contributions in higher education research, teaching, and service. …

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