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Defining the StruggleNational Racial Justice Organizing, 1880-1915$
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Susan D. Carle

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945740

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945740.001.0001

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“Unity in Diversity”

“Unity in Diversity”

The National Association of Colored Women’s

(p.153) 7 “Unity in Diversity”
Defining the Struggle

Susan D. Carle

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the role of the National Association of Colored Women in early law-related civil rights activism should be reconceptualized to emphasize the importance of African American club women's work in pushing the boundaries of the public/private divide. These activists built private social welfare institutions to serve African Americans' communities excluded from the benefits of the emerging social welfare state—as a first step that utilized the avenues for agency presented by the political conditions of the times—and then often followed up these efforts with requests that the public institutions of the state take over or fund institutions built through private, voluntarist efforts.

Keywords:   National Association of Colored Women, social welfare activism and civil rights, Ida B. Wells Barnett, late nineteenth-century civil rights activism, separate spheres ideology, respectability, kindergarten movement, public/private divide, African American club women's movement, African American women's history

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