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Forming Black Identity in a Long Twentieth Century

1:00-1:15 Jordan Bennett, "Setting a Place at the Table: Evolution of Black Feminist Theory"

      Jordan Bennett is a history master's student at West Virginia University, where she works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Center for Women and Gender Studies. Her work focuses primarily on women's history, environmental history, and cultural memory studies.
      Second-wave feminism has long been considered the domain of white women. Activists like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem have served as the faces of the movement, and the issues deemed most pressing by white women are those most platformed. 
      Modern research runs counter to this traditional narrative, however, showing that feminism has never been solely a white woman’s game. Looking at the works of the Combahee River Collective, Angela Davis, and Patricia Hill Collins, as well as several more recent works on Black feminist activism, the idea that white feminism is the sole form of feminist movement falls away, and a more truthful history of feminist history can be liberated from the shadows. 
      In my proposed presentation, I will discuss the importance of uncovering these diverse feminisms, as well as what the unique methods of activism used by different groups tells us about activism itself. The organizing strategies, activist practices, and ideas about liberation used by Black feminists reflect the specific conditions and dimensions of oppression these women faced. Through this presentation, I will outline the different organizing strategies and theoretical frameworks used by Black feminist organizations in the latter half of the twentieth century, consider reasons for these divergences from white feminist practices, and examine what new stories can be uncovered by studying second-wave feminism as not one movement, but several interconnected movements. This work fits the theme of identity as it intends to broaden the traditional narrative of feminist activism to include underrepresented voices. 

1:20-1:35 Evelyn Furuya, "Populist Party and Black Republicans in the late nineteenth century American South"

      I am a forth year history student at West Virginia University. During my undergraduate years at WVU, I studied antebellum US and modern European history. In my junior year, I created a cross disciplinary research on temperance movement in nineteen century Appalachia. This project had been completed last month when I presented it at Undergraduate Research Day at Capitol in Charleston. As a senior, I am finishing my undergraduate degree with my capstone project about Black Populists in Post-Reconstruction South.  
      My research focus on Populist Party and Black Republicans in the late nineteenth century American South. In my capstone project, I examine the connection between Evangelical Revivalism and Fusion Politics of the late nineteenth century in North Carolina. Here, I look at how Evangelicalism provided platform for political activities to African Americans. My project also observes the dilemma of Evangelicalism which indirectly supported racial violence.
      At HGSA conference, I plan to present the second part of my capstone project. In this part, I will argue the class conflict was the major characteristic of southern politics during the Fusion Party in 1870-1890 in North Carolina. I will use scholarship that applied Marxist theology in the context of Appalachian history and demonstrate the challenges and adversities Black politicians had to overcome to attain a level of respectability. Here, the Black politicians sought to overcome the adversities by illustrating Unionism, Evangelicalism and Populism. My presentation at HGSA conference, therefore, will be about Black Identity.

1:40-1:55 Peter D’Arpa