The Civil Rights Movement was not only an epochal social and political event but also a profound moral turning point in American history. Here, for the first time, social ethicist Rosetta Ross examines the religiously motivated activism of black women m the movement and its moral import.
After a chapter exploring black women's religious context and presenting early examples of this work by women of the ante-bellum and post-Reconstruction eras, Ross looks at seven civil rights activists who continue this tradition. They are Ella Josephine Baker, Septima Poinsette Clark, Fannie Lou Hamer, Victoria Way DeLee, Clara Muhammad, Diane Nash, and Ruby Doris Smith Robinson. In a fascinating narrative style that draws on biography, social history, and original archival research, Ross shows how their moral formation and work reflect both womanist consciousness and practices of witness and testimony, both emergent from the black religious context.
Ross's major work is engrossing history and moving ethical challenge. Examining black women's civil rights activism as religiously impelled moral practice redresses an oversight in previous work on the movement and lifts up a paradigm for engagement in the mountainous challenges of contemporary social life.