Race, Class and Gender: Black Women In Academia
Adah L. Ward Randolph, Ph.D.
Paper Prepared for Presentation at
Black Women In The Academy II: Service and Leadership
June 25, 1999
Copyright © 1999 by Adah L. Ward
In What A Woman Ought To
Be and To Do: Black Professional Workers During the Jim Crow Era, Dr. Stephanie J.
Shaw argues that
women have held a unique place at the confluence of the histories of African Americans and
of women. From one angle, Black women faced a variety of constraints in their lives
because of private sphere responsibilities bequeathed to them as women. From a second
angle, they were consigned grave public responsibilities because of the needs of the race.
Reconciling these seemingly opposing traditions (among others) is both necessary and
difficult, as numerous scholars from a variety of disciplines have noted. And as these
scholars eloquently demonstrate, the pitfall to avoid is one of forgetting or ignoring the
circumstance that African American women are both Black and female (Shaw 1996, 4)