Monday, March 19, 2012
7:45 p.m., Gorecki 204
Protestant lay women's activism during the late 1800s and early 1900s prepared a foundation for mid-20th century changes to the character of U.S. society, making it more open to and inclusive of all its citizens. The U.S. Civil Rights and Second Wave Women's movements both emerged from the religious ideals that informed Abolitionism, First Wave Feminism, and urban justice advocacy work at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The inter-racial NAACP movement that arose in 1909 built on the same foundation and became the context in which many persons carried forward "religious" work from prior generations. Methodist laywoman Ruby Hurley is one example of the many contributions Protestant women leaders made to U.S. democracy.
Dr. Ross is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia. Her research and writings explore the role of religion in black women's activism, and focus particularly on the Civil Rights Movement. She is author of Witnessing and Testifying: Black Women, Religion, and Civil Rights which examines religion as a source that helped engender and sustain activities of seven black women civil rights leaders. In addition to this text, Dr. Ross has authored numerous articles and has lectured widely on the role of religion in black women's activism. In 2006 she received the Distinguished Alumna Award at Emory University, and is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the College of Saint Benedict.