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Telling HistoriesBlack Women Historians in the Ivory Tower$
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Deborah Gray White

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832011

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807889121_white

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Dancing on the Edges of History, but Never Dancing Alone

Dancing on the Edges of History, but Never Dancing Alone

(p.240) Dancing on the Edges of History, but Never Dancing Alone
Telling Histories

Barbara Ransby

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the meaning of being a black female historian in 2006. Some argue that it should simply mean being a good scholar, and that notions of race and gender are twentieth-century anachronisms which obscure more than they illuminate. Barbara Ransby's experience, and that of hundreds of other female historians of African descent working and struggling in the academy, tells a very different story. It is a story that reflects slow, erratic progress but also persistent, intractable prejudice augmented by the precedent of generations of institutional racism. It is a story about the sluggish, painful reconfiguration of a profession and its practitioners. African American women currently teaching in history departments at four-year colleges, community colleges, and high schools; working in museums, foundations, publishing houses, and nonprofit organizations; and working independently reflect a myriad of personal and career choices mapped out on the rugged and ever-shifting landscape of what is referred to inclusively as the historical profession.

Keywords:   black female historian, good scholar, race, gender, twentieth-century anachronisms, historical profession

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