Black Women Legacies

Public History Sites Seen and Unseen
Author: Alexandria Russell
The story of African American women and the public memorials they created
Cloth – $110
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 12/10/2024
Cloth: 12/10/2024
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About the Book

From Black clubwomen to members of preservation organizations, African American women have made commemoration a central part of Black life and culture. Alexandria Russell illuminates the process of memorialization while placing African American women at the center of memorials they brought into being and others constructed in their honor. Their often undocumented and unheralded work reveals the importance of the memorializers and public memory crafters in establishing a culture of recognition. Forced to strategize with limited resources, the women operated with a resourcefulness and savvy that had to meet challenges raised by racism, gender and class discrimination, and specific regional difficulties. Yet their efforts from the 1890s to the 2020s shaped and honed practices that became indispensable to the everyday life and culture of Black Americans.

Intersectional and original, Black Women Legacies explores the memorialization of African American women and its distinctive impact on physical and cultural landscapes throughout the United States.

* Publication was supported by a grant from the Howard D. and Marjorie I. Brooks Fund for Progressive Thought.

About the Author

Alexandria Russell is a W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute Fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, and the Interim Vice President of Education and External Engagement at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.



“I was fully captivated by this story about women’s efforts to tell their own history. Russell’s engaging narrative reminds readers that public commemorations of Black women’s history are a product of Black women’s history itself--a history of labor, fundraising, intellectual work, and local politics.”--Lynn M. Hudson, author of West of Jim Crow: The Fight Against California's Color Line