African American Women and Christian Activism: New York's by Judith Weisenfeld

By Judith Weisenfeld

the center category black ladies who humans Judith Weisenfeld's historical past have been dedicated either to social motion and to institutional expression in their non secular convictions. Their tale presents an illuminating point of view at the various forces operating to enhance caliber of lifestyles for African americans in an important occasions.

while project to aid younger ladies migrating to and dwelling on my own in long island, Weisenfeld's protagonists selected to paintings inside of a countrywide evangelical establishment. Their association of a black bankruptcy of the younger Women's Christian organization in 1905 used to be a transparent step towards developing an appropriate surroundings for younger operating ladies; it used to be additionally an expression in their philosophy of social uplift. And predictably it was once the start of an equivalent rights struggle--to paintings as equals with white ladies activists. transforming into and adapting as New York's black neighborhood developed over the a long time, the black YWCA assumed a principal position either within the community's spiritual existence and as a coaching floor for social motion. Weisenfeld's research of the setbacks and successes closes with the nationwide YWCA's vote in 1946 to undertake an interracial constitution and movement towards integration of neighborhood chapters, hence beginning the door to another set of demanding situations for a brand new new release of black activists.

Weisenfeld's account provides a colourful photo of African American girls as major actors within the lifetime of town. And it bears telling witness to the spiritual, type, gender, and racial negotiations so frequently taken with American social reform activities.

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Extra info for African American Women and Christian Activism: New York's Black YWCA, 1905-1945

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As David I. Macleod has demonstrated, the YMCA sought to address fears among white, middle-class Americans that precisely those things that made them middle class—sedentary occupations, extended education, and an extended youth—were "feminizing" them and draining them of some essential principle, thereby lessening the chances that their boys could become effective leaders. 41 Some of these organizations, influenced by the work of G. Stanley Hall, placed his recapitulation theory of human development at the center of their programs.

After years of difficult negotiations, the two united to form the National Board of the YWCAs of the United States of America. "47 Despite the YWCAs professed goal of fostering the growth of evangelical Christianity among all young women in the United States, it was often the case that both national and local white leaders in the movement saw the intended religious experiences as mediated by a number of factors. Clearly, they sought to recognize the ways in which women's religious experiences differed from those of men as a result of the particular constructions of gender in late-nineteenth- and early-twentiethcentury America.

As Dorothy Salem's work demonstrates, concern for both the elderly and children often was the primary motivating factor for African American women to found institutions serving their community. In New York, the Hope Day Nursery, the Colored Mission, and the Colored Orphan Asylum supplemented the services provided by the Free Kindergarten Association. For the elderly, the Lincoln Hospital and Home and the Home for Aged Colored People, both in Brooklyn, drew on the resources of women like Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward and Sarah Garnet.

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