The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters
by Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins
February 2020, 264pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7449-9
$50, £38, 44€, A68
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7450-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The author of this book is the only woman of color to have served as national president of the League of Women Voters in its 100-year history.

The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters explores ways in which these women have been marginalized and recognizes how their contributions will positively influence the organization as it moves into its next 100 years.

On February 14, 2020, the League of Women Voters of the United States celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding. Although women of color have always made significant contributions to women’s suffrage and the women’s movements, their contributions, particularly as they relate to the League of Women Voters (LWV), have been marginalized and relegated to the footnotes of the organization’s history. The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters adds a new dimension to these conversations.

The book is structured to show the progression of the relationship between the League of Women Voters and its members of color as manifested in changes to its policies, practices, symbols, and messaging. It begins with the suffrage movement and continues until the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the League and uses actual correspondence, convention minutes, existing League histories, and personal accounts to tell the League story. Chapter titles disclose the philosophical shifts in attitude at each stage of the organization’s evolution.

Features

  • Celebrates the 100-year history of the League of Women Voters and the contributions of women of color
  • Provides an accurate, comprehensive account of history in this grassroots membership organization
  • Explores the unique challenges that women of color faced in the United States and in its mainstream organizations
  • Argues that the League must learn from the past and make intentional decisions to change for the future to remain relevant in the next phase of its history
Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, PhD, served two terms as the 15th President of the League of Women Voters of the United States and Chair of the League of Women Voters Education (1998–2002). Her career in public school and higher education spanned more than 40 years, and she continues to be an activist for civil rights and social justice, advocating for educational excellence and stronger citizen participation in the electoral process for underrepresented populations. She is currently adjunct assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Awards

2020 INDIES Bronze Winner, Women's Studies (Adult Nonfiction)—Foreword Magazine, June 17, 2021


Reviews

"Dr. Jefferson-Jenkins shows that no institution in the U.S. – not even an “every woman’s organization” like the League of Women Voters – is immune to the complicated history of race. By sharing the untold stories of women of color who have shaped the organization, including the unvarnished truth about their experiences, she helps point the way toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive League of Women Voters and society. At the centennial of the 19th amendment, by reckoning with the difficult past, we can forge a better future for all of us, together."—Beth Pitton-August, Executive Producer, Just The Beginning: A Century of Women's Political Power©

"As the only existing organization to come out of the fight for U.S. suffrage, the League of Women Voters has a beautiful, inspiring, rich history that should be celebrated. For too long, that history has been incomplete—leaving out the stories of women of color who fought prejudice both outside and within the organization. Now, under the guiding hand of Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, who as the first African American president of the League of Women Voters has a front seat to our history, we have the whole story."—Chris Carson, President, League of Women Voters of the United States
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