The International Council of Women of the Darker Races of the World (ICWDR) was founded in 1922 by prominent members of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). This exclusive council, initially comprising eighteen well-educated and highly respected middle-class African American women, was actively engaged in a variety of political agendas and social reform efforts locally and nationally. Situating discrimination of African Americans across the United States into the larger context of ongoing global European and American racialized colonial oppression and imperialist interventionism, this group of women pursued a Pan-Africanist agenda promoting “racial uplift” by “undermin[ing] American racism within larger global processes of racism, imperialism, and eventually decolonization” (Materson 2009: 36). More specifically, these reformers directed their energies toward a transnational endeavor of raising the racial consciousness of women of “darker complexions” across the globe by creating reading and conversation groups. These groups would “study any question or all...
Precursor to Women of Color Feminism: The International Council of Women of the Darker Races of the World and Their Internationalist Orientation
Sheilena M. Downey is a mother of one and a first-generation college student attending Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, on a full academic scholarship. Prior to transferring to Smith, she attended Massasoit Community College in her hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts, where she was awarded all of the school’s highest honors, including the Green Key Society, TRIO Presidential Scholarship, and Honor Garden Scholarship. Her work, “Boys and Their Toys,” was published in volume 2 of The Lantern. In 2016, she was recognized by the South Shore Leadership Conference and acknowledged with the Excellence in Civic Engagement Award. Despite her love for creative writing, she has directed her studies toward race and citizenship in the United States and completed her bachelor of arts in May 2020 with a focus on U.S. history.
Sheilena M. Downey; Precursor to Women of Color Feminism: The International Council of Women of the Darker Races of the World and Their Internationalist Orientation. Meridians 1 October 2020; 19 (2): 271–277. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15366936-8308374
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