Women Inspire on Feb. 5: Dr. Elizabeth J. West
The Office of the Provost invites students, faculty and staff to the second Women Inspire lecture for 2018-19 on Feb. 5 with Elizabeth J. West, professor of English. The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m., in Room 120 of Centennial Hall, 100 Auburn Ave. N.E.
Her talk, “And They Raised Black Men: Black Women, Family, and Resistance in the U.S. South,” will examine the lives and legacies of Francis and Louisa, two enslaved and later free black women, exploring the still-present misrepresentation of black matriarchy in popular and scholarly discourse. This historical sentiment was articulated in the Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.’s August 2018 eulogy for singer Aretha Franklin, in which Williams said, “A Black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man.” The story of Francis and Louisa shows Black women have a long history of doing that.
Both women dared to be mothers and to pass on a legacy of family and kinship in a nation that refused to recognize the humanity of Black family and society during and after slavery.