Nannie Helen Burroughs
A Documentary Portrait of an Early Civil Rights Pioneer, 1900–1959
270 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Hardcover | 9780268105532 | May 2019
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268105563 | May 2019
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268105556 | May 2019
Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879–1961) is just one of the many African American intellectuals whose work has been long excluded from the literary canon. In her time, Burroughs was a celebrated African American (or, in her era, a "race woman") female activist, educator, and intellectual. This book represents a landmark contribution to the African American intellectual historical project by allowing readers to experience Burroughs in her own words. This anthology of her works written between 1900 and 1959 encapsulates Burroughs' work as a theologian, philosopher, activist, educator, intellectual, and evangelist, as well as the myriad of ways that her career resisted definition. Burroughs rubbed elbows with such African American historical icons as W. E. B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, and Mary McLeod Bethune, and these interactions represent much of the existing, easily available literature on Burroughs' life. This book aims to spark a conversation surrounding Burroughs' life and work by making available her own tracts on God, sin, the intersections of church and society, black womanhood, education, and social justice. Moreover, the volume is an important piece of the growing movement toward excavating African American intellectual and philosophical thought and reformulating the literary canon to bring a diverse array of voices to the table.
Nannie Helen Burroughs, born in 1879 in Orange, Virginia, was an African American educator and activist. In 1909, she founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, DC. She continued to work there until her death in 1961.
Kelisha B. Graves is an honors and undergraduate research programs advisor and instructor at Fayetteville State University. She is completing a Doctorate of Education in educational leadership.
"In a public career that spanned six decades, the educator and civil rights activist Nannie Helen Burroughs was a leading voice in the African American community. . . . In this collection of documents, the historian Kelisha B. Graves focuses on Burroughs’s published writings on race and racism, women’s rights, and social justice. . . . Graves has raised interesting questions about ambiguities in the black protest movement in the first half of the twentieth century." —The Journal of American History
“Graves suggests that Burroughs has earned a place alongside some of the great thought leaders on Civil Rights. Her wide circle of acquaintances included everyone from famous educator Mary McLeod Bethune to Martin Luther King Jr., whose parents she knew well from her extensive work with the National Baptist Convention.” —The Fayetteville Observer
"As Kelisha Graves posits, most of the existing black women's historical, intellectual, and religious scholarship offers limited insight (if any) into the views and ideas of Nannie Helen Burroughs, despite her views and published writings on wide-ranging, important topics from democracy and human rights to gender and social justice. The issues, organizations, and movements in which she was personally involved as an activist and thinker were not only significant during her lifetime: they still have compelling contemporary resonance. This volume offers the first compilation of Burroughs's scattered writings in a single text, ensuring them a more central role in future historical feminist, religious, and social justice narratives." —Sharon Harley, University of Maryland
"Kelisha Graves's Nannie Helen Burroughs makes a valuable contribution to the field of black intellectual thought by providing a different analytical framework for those scholars studying African American women activists against Jim Crow's oppression and for civil rights for all people." —Linda D. Tomlinson, Fayetteville State University
"This is a tremendous scholarly reintroduction of Nannie Helen Burroughs as a black thinker, a civil rights activist, and a race woman. It not only makes a substantial contribution to black intellectual history, but provides invaluable resources to black historians and black political theorists looking to theorize black women anew. Much is accomplished by situating Burroughs as a political thinker rather than describing or constraining her by what many twenty-first-century scholars would erroneously interpret as her (actual) race or gender politics. This collection has now become the authoritative text on Burroughs that presents her life, her intellectual motivations, and her primary writings together for study. Kelisha B. Graves has set the standard for future collections publishing the lost or unavailable writings of race women and should be commended." —Tommy J. Curry, University of Edinburgh