Journeys That Opened Up the World: Women, Student Christian Movements, and Social Justice, 1955-1975

By Sara M. Evans | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13
Valerie Russell
(1941–1997)

THE REPAIRER OF THE BREACH (ISAIAH 58:12)
LETTY M. RUSSELL

Editor's Note: Valerie Russell had hoped to participate in this project, but she was ill even as the idea was being born. Her importance to the broader narrative, however, cannot be overstated. We are grateful to Rev. Letty Russell for her evocation of Val.

In 1970 I walked into the YWCA building at 600 Lexington Avenue in New York City and I knew that there was something afoot. There were signs about the One Imperative to thrust our collective power toward the elimination of racism wherever it existed and by any means necessary. There were invitations to be part of a Women's Resource Center program and strengthen our women power. There were purposeful staff moving in and out of Dorothy Height's office, which was working to help the National Board and all the member associations to implement the One Imperative. In the middle of this ferment was a young staff member named Valerie Russell. She had come out of the Student YWCA and the civil rights movement to work as Dorothy Height's assistant. Valerie made good use of her strong and dynamic mentor, who was also the head of the National Council of Negro Women. Having similar backgrounds, Val and I became kindred spirits: “the Russell sisters,” serious about the work on racism and sexism and looking for the soul power that would help move these justice agendas.

I had come to work part time at the National YWCA as the religious consultant because I was very impressed with the work that the YWCA had been doing in affirming its role as a women's movement and in passing a

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Journeys That Opened Up the World: Women, Student Christian Movements, and Social Justice, 1955-1975
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Journeys That Opened Up the World *
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 1 - Ruth Harris 15
  • Chapter 2 - Jeanne Audrey Powers 45
  • Chapter 3 - Rebecca Owen 66
  • Chapter 4 - Elmira Kendricks Nazombe 84
  • Chapter 5 - Jill Foreman 104
  • Chapter 6 - Charlotte Bunch 122
  • Chapter 7 - Tamela Hultman 140
  • Chapter 8 - M. Sheila Mccurdy 157
  • Chapter 9 - Alice Hageman 174
  • Chapter 10 - Jan Griesinger 191
  • Chapter 11 - Eleanor Scott Meyers 208
  • Chapter 12 - Nancy D. Richardson 226
  • Chapter 13 - The Repairer of the Breach (isaiah 58:12) 237
  • Chapter 14 - Renetia Martin 240
  • Chapter 15 - Frances E. Kendall 249
  • Chapter 16 - Margarita Mendoza De Sugiyama 262
  • Notes on Contributors 271
  • Index 275
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