Synopses & Reviews
As the major national biracial women's organization, the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) provided a unique venue for women to respond to American race relations during the first half of the twentieth century. In Christian Sisterhood, Race Relations, and the YWCA, 1906-46, Nancy Marie Robertson shows how women of both races employed different understandings of andquot;Christian sisterhoodandquot; in their responses. Although the YWCA was segregated at the local level, African American women were able to effectively challenge white women over YWCA racial policies and practices. Robertson argues that from 1906 through 1946, many white women in the association went from seeing segregation as compatible with Christianity and democracy to regarding it as a contradiction of those values. These struggles laid the groundwork for the subsequent civil rights movement. Her analysis relies not only on a large body of records documenting YWCA women at the national and local levels, but also on autobiographical accounts and personal papers from women associated with the YWCA, including Dorothy Height, Lugenia Burns Hope, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and Lillian Smith.
A volume in the series Women in American History, edited by Anne Firor Scott, Susan Armitage, Susan K. Cahn, and Deborah Gray White
andquot;This is not a history of inevitable progress, but a history of continuing tension and negotiation. . . . Thoroughly documented. Recommended.andquot;--Choice
andquot;An important contribution to the literatures on early-twentieth-century women's history, religion, and the civil rights movement. Most significantly, Nancy Marie Robertson has demonstrated the ways in which religion played a vital role in promoting and sustaining the interracial character of the Young Women's Christian Association.andquot;--Journal of Southern History
andquot;This book would be a great addition to classes that focus on feminist history, women's organization, and race relations.andquot;--Contemporary Sociology
About the Author
and#160;Nancy Marie Robertson is an associate professor of history and philanthropic studies at Indiana Universityandndash;Purdue University Indianapolis, where she also directs the women's studies program.