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Authors

Eileen Boris

Abstract

In the early twentieth century United States, women of African descent constructed a political voice that refused to be bounded by the separation of public from private, of work from home. Just as African-American women lived lives that knew no such false divisions, so those active in national and local women's organizations drew upon their strength as mothers to argue for a legal equality that recognized their difference as black and female from the dominant white society. They offered an interpretation of political life that emphasized the role of women as saviors of the race, justifying their activity because they were mothers. Indeed, they connected women's rights, unlike men's, to the experience of motherhood.

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