American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Rethinking the Civil Rights Movement

Published December 7, 2010

Premilla Nadasen, Queens College, CUNY
Women and Black Freedom: Rethinking the Civil Rights Movement
The Graduate Center, CUNY
April 22, 2010

Historian Premilla Nadasen examines the importance of women in the Black Freedom Movements of the 1960s and 1970s. In Part 1 of this podcast, she outlines how the traditional narrative of the Civil Rights Movement, which tended toward “great men approach” is being expanded in three ways: 1) the timeframe is extended beyond 1955-1968; 2) the geography is expanded to encompass the North; and 3) a broader range of activists are considered including those who promoted armed self-defense and women who focused on gender issues. In Part 2, starting at 25:40, Premilla Nadasen focuses on Johnnie Tillmon and welfare rights activism to illustrate how inclusion of this movement expands the Civil Rights narrative to include gender, economics, and women’s self-determination.

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