By Judith Weisenfeld

the center category black ladies who humans Judith Weisenfeld's historical past have been devoted either to social motion and to institutional expression in their spiritual convictions. Their tale presents an illuminating standpoint at the different forces operating to enhance caliber of existence for African american citizens in an important instances.

while venture to aid younger ladies migrating to and dwelling on my own in long island, Weisenfeld's protagonists selected to paintings inside a countrywide evangelical establishment. Their association of a black bankruptcy of the younger Women's Christian organization in 1905 was once a transparent step towards setting up an appropriate atmosphere for younger operating ladies; it was once additionally an expression in their philosophy of social uplift. And predictably it used to be the start of an equivalent rights struggle--to paintings as equals with white ladies activists. becoming and adapting as New York's black neighborhood advanced over the many years, the black YWCA assumed a relevant position either within the community's spiritual lifestyles and as a coaching flooring for social motion. Weisenfeld's research of the setbacks and successes closes with the nationwide YWCA's vote in 1946 to undertake an interracial constitution and circulate towards integration of neighborhood chapters, therefore commencing the door to another set of demanding situations for a brand new iteration of black activists.

Weisenfeld's account provides a colourful photo of African American girls as major actors within the lifetime of town. And it bears telling witness to the spiritual, category, gender, and racial negotiations so frequently concerned about American social reform hobbies.

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Extra info for African American Women and Christian Activism: New York's Black YWCA, 1905-1945

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B. "4 Du Bois and other observers of early-twentieth-century black church life in New York often commented on the class-based nature of church affiliations, among the most commonly remarked-upon characteristics. Du Bois wrote: There are thirty or forty churches, large and small, but seven or eight chief ones. They have strongly marked individuality, and stand in many cases for distinct social circles. The older families of well-to-do free negroes who count an unspotted family life for two centuries gather at St.

In "primitive" civilization, Hall asserted, the roles of men and women were similar; the divergence of these roles reflects the advanced stage of white American civilization. Hall understood women's desire to return to equality with men as "natural," but, ultimately, as serving to diminish the energy available for the United States to move to the next stage of civilization. " Therefore, the education of girls should be restricted in order to socialize them into roles that would prove most beneficial to society as a whole.

45 The YWCA modeled itself, in part, on the YMCA work that preceded it. " By the turn of the century, however, the YWCA began to rethink its exclusive focus on personal morality and to question the relationship between personal morality and social structures in ways that converged with the concerns of the Social Gospel movement. The Social Gospel movement represented one attempt by liberal Protestants to incorporate the fields of science, sociology, and biblical criticism into their religious worldview and to apply them in concrete ways to the social and political issues of the day.

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