Publication:
The International Strategy of African American Women at the Columbian Exposition and Its Legacy: Pan-Africanism, Decolonization and Human Rights

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Date
2014
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EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
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Abstract
The essay focuses on the international activism of African American women between 1893 and 1960 identifying it as an essential area of study, calling for the longue durée and stressing the importance of the presence of African American women at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago for understanding the origins of that activism and reconstructing political networks that would endure many decades. It seeks to respond at least in part to some critical questions: how did African American women use Pan-Africanism as a resource in their battle for racial progress and gender equality? What roles did these women play in the various Pan-African movements? To what extent could they hold leadership positions within these movements, at least during certain phases? To do this it analyzes the foreign policy views of different African American Women associations – the National Association of Colored Women, the International Council of Women of the Darker Races, the National Council of Negro Women – and the political experience of many of their leaders. The participation of African American women in universal expositions, especially the one in Chicago in 1893, has rarely been explored from the perspective of Pan- Africanism. Yet this context can reveal much about the life experiences that interwove with international ideas and public speeches and brought together women’s rights, the creation of a global community of the ‘darker races’, anticolonialism, peace, social justice and human rights.
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Elisabetta Vezzosi, "The International Strategy of African American Women at the Columbian Exposition and Its Legacy: Pan-Africanism, Decolonization and Human Rights", in: Guido Abbattista (edited by), “Moving Bodies, Displaying Nations National Cultures, Race and Gender in World Expositions Nineteenth to Twenty-first Century”, Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2014, pp. 67-88