Empowerment Ethics for a Liberated People: A Path to African American Social Transformation

By Cheryl J. Sanders | Go to book overview

3
Uplift

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the cause of black empowerment and moral improvement was taken up by the black women’s club movement. The motto of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, “Lifting as We Climb,” is a succinct expression of the social ethical agenda of this movement, namely, the socioeconomic advancement, in solidarity with the oppressed and impoverished masses, of black women, men, and children. One of the early leaders, Fannie Barrier Williams, described the motive behind the motto:

How to help and protect some defenseless and tempted young
woman; how to aid some poor boy to complete a much-coveted
education; how to lengthen the short school term in some impov-
erished school district; how to instruct deficient mothers in the
difficulties of child training.1

The social ethical focus of this movement is further illuminated by Williams’s explanation of the distinctive differences between black and white women’s clubs in terms of purpose and social concern: “Among the colored women the club is the effort of the few competent in behalf of the many incompetent…. Among

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Empowerment Ethics for a Liberated People: A Path to African American Social Transformation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction - Ethics for a People "In Charge" 1
  • 1 - Testimony 10
  • 2 - Protest 26
  • 3 - Uplift 43
  • 4 - Cooperation 61
  • 5 - Achievement 80
  • 6 - Remoralization 95
  • 7 - Ministry 114
  • Notes 125
  • Index 136
  • A Note on the Cover Art 141
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