How Long? How Long?: African American Women and the Struggle for Civil Rights

By Belinda Robnett | Go to book overview

Appendix A
The Study

THIS BOOK PLACES African-American women at the center of the analysis and focuses on the movement within the context of their organizational participation. As much as possible, women's voices are used to illustrate themes that emerged during personal interviews and archival research.

The study used a number of qualitative data sources, including life histories, archival materials, secondary sources, and personal interviews. Multiple methods through triangulation were employed in an effort to discover which women were leaders. For example, names were located in several well-known accounts of the civil rights movement (e.g., Morris 1984; McAdam 1982, 1988; Branch 1988). The accuracy of these findings was verified through the use of archival data. Interviewees were also asked for names of women whom they felt were movement leaders, thus implementing the "snowball" method. Through this process, I could be relatively certain that my categorization of a particular woman as a leader was valid. Additionally, this allowed the participants to define leadership in their own terms.

Data from twenty-five telephone interviews were used for this study. Women were asked the same questions regarding their participation, as well as the participation of other women in their respective civil rights movement organizations. The method was to ask specific open-ended questions and to follow the interviewee's line of thought with additional questions. The remaining interviews were

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