Category Archives: Women’s history

New @the SCL, Part 1: genealogy, trans-racial adoption, and more!

Have you seen our latest display?

New books on display at the Stone Center Library

Featuring titles newly available here at the Stone Center Library, current highlights include topics such as religion, genealogy, education, women’s studies and more. We encourage you to come on by and check them out, and will be introducing these titles in a weekly three-part series, starting today with a variety of resources pertaining to family:

Coming up next week: new titles in education studies.

Women’s History Month Display Highlights

Have you been by the Stone Center Library lately? If so, you may have noticed our latest display, which features selections in honor of women’s history month, hand-picked by Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier.

Here are some of the highlights:

Azaransky, Sarah. The Dream Is Freedom : Pauli Murray and American Democratic Faith. Oxford ;: Oxford UP, c2011.

Blair, Cynthia M. I’ve Got to Make My Livin’ : Black Women’s Sex Work in Turn-of-the-century Chicago. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010.

Haynes, Rosetta Renae. Radical Spiritual Motherhood : Autobiography and Empowerment in Nineteenth-century African American Women. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, c2011.

Johnson, M. Mikell. Heroines of African American Golf : The Past, the Present and the Future. [Bloomington, Ind.]: Trafford Pub., c2010.

Lau, Kimberly J. Body Language : Sisters in Shape, Black Women’s Fitness, and Feminist Identity Politics. Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple UP, 2011.

Musser, Judith. “Girl, Colored” and Other Stories : A Complete Short Fiction Anthology of African American Women Writers in the Crisis Magazine, 1910-2010. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., c2011.

Nevergold, Barbara Seals., and Peggy Brooks-Bertram. Go, Tell Michelle : African American Women Write to the New First Lady. Albany, N.Y.: Excelsior Editions/State U of New York P, c2009.

Perkins-Valdez, Dolen. Wench : A Novel. New York: Amistad, c2010.

Shields, John C., and Eric D. Lamore. New Essays on Phillis Wheatley. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, c2011.

Winn, Maisha T. Girl Time : Literacy, Justice, and the School-to-prison Pipeline. New York: Teachers College P, c2011.

Like what you see? Come on by for these titles and more! The Stone Center Library is open 8am-8pm Monday-Thursday and Fridays 8am-5pm. The Library is on the third floor of the Stone Center on South Rd., near the Belltower.

SCL Picks for Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and here at the Library options abound for those of you interested in women’s studies from a variety of approaches. Perhaps you’ve read the extremely popular novel The Help, have seen the award-winning film, or both. Love it or hate it, this complex work has inspired spirited debate with regard to its portrayal of race relations. Along these lines, today we thought we would feature a couple of our holdings on motherhood and the domestic sphere in the American South. Check out:

Born southern : childbirth, motherhood, and social networks in the old South, by V. Lynn Kennedy (2010).

  • “Kennedy’s unique approach links the experiences of black and white women, examining how childbirth and motherhood created strong ties to family, community, and region for both. She also moves beyond a simple exploration of birth as a physiological event, examining the social and cultural circumstances surrounding it: family and community support networks, the beliefs and practices of local midwives, and the roles of men as fathers and professionals. . . Kennedy’s systematic and thoughtful study distinguishes southern approaches to childbirth and motherhood from northern ones, showing how slavery and rural living contributed to a particularly southern experience.” (Source:

Cooking in other women’s kitchens : domestic workers in the South, 1865-1960, by Rebecca Sharpless (2010).

  • “Through letters, autobiography, and oral history, this book evokes African American women’s voices from slavery to the open economy, examining their lives at work and at home. Sharpless looks beyond stereotypes to introduce the real women who left their own houses and families each morning to cook in other women’s kitchens.” (Source:

If this topic piques your interest, don’t forget we’re always happy to provide further recommendations and/or reference assistance – by phone, email, or chat (StoneCenterRef). And in case you missed it the first time, here’s our Women’s History Month Round-Up of previous SCL blog entries and online resources in women’s studies, including the Stone Center Library’s Guide to the Web.

Next up on the SCL blog: Have you come by the Library lately? Make sure you check out our latest display, featuring hand-picked selections by Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier for Women’s History Month. Stay tuned!

Women’s History Month Round-Up

March marks the start of Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment.” Before going on  a brief blogging hiatus for Spring Break next week, we thought we’d jump-start the month with a round-up of online resources and pertinent posts from the SCL blog archives. 

For example… did you know our Stone Center Library Guide to the Web contains a wealth of sites related to women’s history, achievements, and issues  across a variety of disciplines? Check out some simple searches here, here, and here.  From science and technology to literature and the arts, we’ve got you covered! 

In addition to these general resources, we’ve periodically featured profiles of compelling women of historical and cultural significance. See, for example, our previous posts highlighting the following female figures: 

Looking for a broader perspective? More of a book person? You’re in luck! Over the last couple of years we’ve taken the time to put together lists of recommendations for Women’s History Month which you may consult at your leisure: here, here, here, and here

We hope these links provide some inspiration for whatever your research or reading needs may be, and hope that you will check in after the break for more from us as we continue to celebrate women’s history here at the Stone Center Library. Finally, best of luck to those of you winding your way through midterm exams and assignments – Spring Break is almost here! 

SCL Picks for Valentine’s Day, or, 14 Books About Love

It’s all about love today!  In honor of Valentine’s Day, Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier has hand-picked a selection of books from the collection on the subject of LOVE. In no particular order, here are 14 books for February 14th: 

African love stories : an anthology (2006), edited by Ama Ata Aidoo

Bicycles : love poems (2009), by Nikki Giovanni

Courtship and love among the enslaved in North Carolina (c2007), by Rebecca  Fraser

Forbidden fruit : love stories from the Underground Railroad (2005), by Betty DeRamus

Haruko : love poems (c1994), by June Jordan

How three Black women writers combined spiritual and sensual love : rhetorically transcending the boundaries of language (Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Dionne Brand) (c2010), by Cherie Ann Turpin.

I hear a symphony : African Americans celebrate love (1994), edited by Paula L. Woods and Felix H. Liddell

It’s all love : black writers on soul mates, family, and friends (c2009)

Love & marriage in early African America (c2008), edited by Frances Smith Foster

Love in Africa (2009), edited by Jennifer Cole and Lynn M. Thomas

Love poems (c1997), by Nikki Giovanni

Salvation : Black people and love (2001), by bell hooks

The suitcase book of love poems (2008), edited by Martin De Mello & Muli Amaye

Wild women don’t wear no blues : Black women writers on love, men, and sex (c1993), edited and with an introduction by Marita Golden

All titles are available here at the SCL. Enjoy! 🙂

* Image by Stuart Miles

SCL Pick: “The Curse of Caste, or, the Slave Bride: a rediscovered African American novel”

Today marks the anniversary of the start of the Greensboro sit-ins in 1960 (and we encourage you to take a look at last year’s blog post about the history of the movement here).

Today also marks the start of Black History Month 2012, which was founded by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). This year’s theme is “Black Women in American Culture and History” and the ASALH has kindly prepared a summary of this topic which is available here.

Here at the Stone Center Library, we thought we’d jump-start this month with a little-known gem in our collection:

The Curse of Caste,or, the Slave Bride: a rediscovered African American novel, by Julia C. Collins

Considered “the first novel by an African American woman,” it takes place in antebellum Louisiana and Connecticut “and focuses on the lives of a beautiful mixed-race mother and daughter whose opportunities for fulfillment through love and marriage are threatened by slavery and caste prejudice.”

Take a look at the full summary here, or come by the library and check it out!

Cesária Évora: 08/27/1941-12/17/2011

Renown Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora died this past weekend at age 70. Earning monikers such as “The Barefoot Diva”  and “The Queen of Morna,” Évora began performing at age 16. Releasing her first album in 1988, by 2003 she had earned a Grammy for her album Voz D’Amor.

An international star, Évora became famous for her distinctive contralto and soulful performances of songs of lament and longing. Indeed, “Évora was considered one of the world’s greatest exponents of Morna, a form of blues considered the national music of the Cape Verde islands, a former Portuguese colony which gained independence in 1975.” ( For more on her life and legacy, see the following links for obituaries published in the New York Times, the BBC, and the Washington Post, among others. You may also hear a brief clip of Évora in performance here.

For those of you who are UNC affiliates, if you’re interested in a more extensive discussion of her career from a sociological perspective we encourage you to make use of the new Articles+ search tool to locate the following article: “Cesária Évora: ‘The Barefoot Diva’ and Other Stories.” (by Carla Martin, in Transition, No. 103, Cabo Verde (2010), pp. 82-97). Here at the SCL we also have Music is the weapon of the future : fifty years of African popular music (2002), which includes the chapter “From Kode di Dona to Cesaria Evora: Sodade in A Major: The Music of Cape Verde”  (p. 191).

Wangari Maathai: 1940-2011

This past Sunday marked the sad occasion of the passing of Nobel prize-winning activist Wangari Maathai of Kenya. An environmentalist and an educator, she is perhaps best known for establishing the Green Belt Movement, “a broad-based grassroots organization whose main focus is poverty reduction and environmental conservation through tree planting.” For her efforts, she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. You can read more about her remarkable life and achievements here and here.

Dr. Maathai also authored a series of publications, several of which are available here at the Library:

You can also read about the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in more detail here. You may also view and share condolences here.

SCL Boredom-Buster #17: “The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett

Readers, you are in for a treat today! SCL Boredom-Buster #17 features a review by none other than Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier, with a personal and lively discussion of best-selling novel The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. This book may be requested from UNC’s Davis Library or Undergraduate Library. Check out the review below:

At first, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read the novel The Help.  It was one of my book club’s selections and although I admit I was a little intrigued when I saw it was set in my home state of Mississippi, I also noted that the setting was the 1960s;  a period when racism, hatred and extreme violence were sadly prevalent.  So when I first picked it up and read the premise I couldn’t help but groan and think, “here we go again.”  Don’t get me wrong, I am quite familiar with the events that unfortunately did happen during that time in the state and across the South (I remember some of them from my childhood), but I’m reluctant to read fiction that will downright depress me.  Boy, was I in for a surprise!  Author Kathryn Stockett does an excellent job of balancing the severity of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi with a surprisingly uplifting tone that doesn’t distract from the seriousness of the time period.

The Help is about the complex relationships that existed at the time between White housewives and their African-American maids and just how complicated and silly the relationships and rules could be.  The novel does include some of the major events of the time, such as the death of Medgar Evers, and Stockett gives these real-life events a respectful treatment, while at the same time knowing when and where to adeptly inject humor. As a result I often found myself literally laughing out loud on several occasions, often before I could dry away tears.  In other words, I simply couldn’t put it down.

Part of the uplifting tone comes from the three main characters who take turns narrating the novel. Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan is a 22 year old recent graduate of Ole Miss who aspires to be a writer, at a time when women were expected to marry well and have babies. In my opinion she is the “co-hero” of the story, along with Abileen, one of the African American maids who finds the courage to help “Miss Skeeter” tell the story of the maids. Last but not least is Minny, one of the maids who is best described as “mouthy” but also quite hilarious.  Together these three women help start a movement of their own.

There are also a host of other characters who range from compassionate to ridiculous who help to tell this multilayered story that touched me in so many ways, and compelled me to write this very personal review of the novel.

However, there’s also another reason I wanted to put a personal stamp on this review. You may be aware that a film version of The Help is coming out on August 10th, but I learned of the movie being in production long before many others. How? Last year my mom called to tell me about a movie being filmed in my hometown near her job, where she had met a “nice gentleman.” This gentleman turned out to be Steven Spielberg himself, and the movie turned out to be… well, you guessed it. 🙂

SCL Boredom-Buster #11: “The pecan orchard: journey of a sharecropper’s daughter,” by Peggy Vonsherie Allen

This week the SCL Boredom-Busters series continues with summer reading recommendations in non-fiction, as a complement to the fiction and poetry titles we’ve highlighted thus far. Today’s pick is:

The pecan orchard: journey of a sharecropper’s daughter, by Peggy Vonsherie Allen.

  • “This is a true story of the struggle, survival, and ultimate success of a large black family in south Alabama who, in the middle decades of the 20th century, lifted themselves out of poverty to achieve the American dream of property ownership. Descended from slaves and sharecroppers in the Black Belt region, this family of hard-working parents and their thirteen children is mentored by its matriarch, Moa, the author’s beloved great grandmother, who passes on to the family, along with other cultural wealth, her recipe for moonshine. . . Told in clean, straightforward prose, the story radiates the suffocating midday heat of summertime cotton fields and the biting winter wind sifting through porous shanty walls. It conveys the implicit shame in “Colored Only” restrooms, drinking fountains, and eating areas; the beaming satisfaction of a job well done recognized by others; the “yessum” manners required of southern society; and the joyful moments, shared memories, and loving bonds that sustain-and even raise-a proud family.” (Source: Syndetic Solutions)

Happy reading! 🙂