In 1987, the Ford Foundation awarded Bettye Collier-Thomas, the founder and Executive Director of the Bethune Museum and Archives (BMA), a grant for research and sponsorship of a conference on black women in the Civil Rights Movement. Collier-Thomas was involved in surveying the important role that Mary McLeod Bethune, the National Council of Negro Women, the National Association of Colored Women, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Non-Partisan Council, and other women's organizations had played in the Civil Rights Movement. She was also involved in reviewing the emerging scholarship, which rarely mentioned the women or organizations.
Without the support of Lynn Walker and Sheila Biddle, program directors at the Ford Foundation, the project would not have been launched. In 1989, the project moved to Temple University when Collier-Thomas joined the History Department and became Director of the Center for African American History and Culture (CAAHC). In 1995, V. P. Franklin became co-director of the project to develop a national conference on “African American Women in the Civil Rights– Black Power Movement” which was held at Temple University on November 20–21, 1997. Special thanks are due to the Bethune Museum and Archives for administration of the grant.
We also thank James Turner and Sharon Harley, who served as members of the conference planning committee, as well as Julian Bond, Diane Bevel Nash, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Dorothy Cotton, Clayborne Carson, Kathleen Cleaver, Aldon Morris, Gloria Harper Dickinson and others who participated in a roundtable discussion and suggested approaches and ideas for the project. Researchers Marya McQuirter, Michael Collins, Jerry Bjelopra, Danielle Smallcomb, Richard Woodland, and Fatima Aliu followed up research leads and identified sources for the bibliography. The work of CAAHC administrative assistant Joanne Hawes Speakes was indispensable to organizing the conference.