From Stumbling Blocks to Stepping Stones: The Life Experiences of Fifty Professional African American Women

Overview

Whether in popular culture, academic research, or public consciousness, African American women are often defined by their presumed poverty or lack of education. In this unique antidote to public perception, Kathleen F. Slevin and C. Ray Wingrove focus on the experiences of an unusual group of pioneers: one of the first generations of African American women to work as white-collar professionals, retire in considerable comfort, and remain actively and fruitfully involved, as older...

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Overview

Whether in popular culture, academic research, or public consciousness, African American women are often defined by their presumed poverty or lack of education. In this unique antidote to public perception, Kathleen F. Slevin and C. Ray Wingrove focus on the experiences of an unusual group of pioneers: one of the first generations of African American women to work as white-collar professionals, retire in considerable comfort, and remain actively and fruitfully involved, as older women, in their respective communities.

Through the voices of these women, we come to understand the impact of social systems on individual lives and to appreciate how the legacies provided these women by their families, teachers, churches, and communities endowed them with the survival tools needed to succeed, despite the prejudice and "stumbling blocks" they encountered along the way. Slevin and Wingrove explore how the lessons of childhood–choosing battles, avoiding hurtful Whites, striving for economic independence, and projecting self-confidence and racial pride–translate to adulthood as they recount the ups and downs of being successful African American women.

Kathleen F. Slevin is Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of William and Mary. C. Ray Wingrove is Professor of Sociology at the University of Richmond.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book will be informative and rewarding reading for students and professors alike."

-Gender and Society,

"A book that speaks to all of us, across lines of race and gender."

-Melvin P. Sikes,

"Powerful and very important."

-John Sibley Butler,University of Texas, Austin

Library Journal
Pioneers in the work world, the women featured here "are models for young women of today who are just beginning the journey they have completed." Now retired, they share their stories of survival and resistance with the authors, both sociology professors. The issues they consider include church, education, and the world of work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814780992
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Pages: 187
  • Product dimensions: 5.71 (w) x 8.59 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen F. Slevin is Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of William and Mary.

C. Ray Wingrove is Professor of Sociology at the University of Richmond.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Survival and Resistance: Early Lessons in the Family 11
2 Survival and Resistance: Lessons in the Community 33
3 The Church: Sacred and Secular Entwined 49
4 Education: Passport to a Better Life 65
5 The World of Work: Making It the Hard Way 87
6 Free at Last: Surviving and Thriving in Retirement 123
7 Pioneer Role Models 151
Appendix Researchers' Comments on the Study 161
Notes 171
Index 181
About the Authors 187
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