2020 is the year of the woman. Not only have black women played a significant role in this year-like-no-other, but they have played significant roles in all parts of society throughout history. The panel Telling HerStory: Saving Black Women’s History is a moderated discussion hosted by the founder of BlueButterfly and founding publisher of TheRoot.com, Donna Byrd. Byrd will be joined by accomplished and influential women from a range of professions; panelists include the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School Tomiko Brown-Nagin; the famous lawyer and academic; Anita Hill; writer, activist, and New York City’s First Lady, Chirlane McCray, and the black feminist scholar, writer and editor Beverly Guy Sheftall. The discussion also features a Q&A session with questions from The HistoryMakers WomenMakers Advisory Committee. Don’t miss your opportunity to view this enlightening discussion on the importance of understanding and protecting the large role black women have played—and continue to play—in African American history.
This 90-minute program is scheduled to stream on YouTube and Facebook Live at 12:00 noon EST on Thursday, December 17, 2020 as the seventeenth installment of The HistoryMakers 20@2020: 20 Days and 20 Nights Convening and Celebration.
Tomiko Brown-Nagin is Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, and Professor of History at Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In 2019, Brown-Nagin was appointed chair of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery. Brown-Nagin has published articles and book chapters on the Supreme Court's equal protection jurisprudence, civil rights law and history, the Affordable Care Act and education reform in a variety of publications, including the Yale Law Journal, the Harvard Law Review, the Columbia Law Review and the Journal of Law & Education. Her 2011 book Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford), won the Bancroft Prize in U.S. History.
Anita Hill is an American lawyer who earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1980. She soon began working for Clarence Thomas at the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights and later the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After Thomas was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991, Hill famously testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had been sexually harassed by her former employer. Thomas was ultimately appointed to the Supreme Court, but Hill's testimony made her a national symbol and brought new attention to matters of equality and discrimination in the workplace. She is currently a professor at Brandeis University.
As First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray has redefined the role of First Lady, managing a robust portfolio to advance an ambitious agenda in support of all New Yorkers. Nationally recognized as a powerful champion for mental health reform and dubbed one of TIME Magazine’s 50 Most Influential People in Health Care for 2018, Ms. McCray created ThriveNYC, the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation. She also spearheads the Cities Thrive Coalition, with more than 200 mayors, county officials and thought leaders from all 50 states, advocating for a more integrated and better-funded behavioral health system. As Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Ms. McCray brings together government, philanthropy and the private sector to work on some of the most pressing issues of our time, including mental health, youth employment and immigration. She also launched and leads the NYC Unity Project, an unprecedented citywide effort to make sure LGBTQ young people in New York City are safe, supported and healthy. Ms. McCray’s other responsibilities are extensive. As co-chair of the Commission on Gender Equity, she is a persistent voice for creating a 50-50 city and world. In partnership with NYC’s Police Chief, she leads the Domestic Violence Task Force. And in 2015, with her signature, New York City became the first city in the country to join the United Nations Women’s Safe Cities Global Initiative. The First Lady is a graduate of Wellesley College. She and Mayor Bill de Blasio live in Gracie Mansion, the official residence, and are proud parents of Chiara and Dante.
Beverly Guy-Sheftall is founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center (since 1981) and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College. She is also an adjunct professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies where she teaches graduate courses in their doctoral program. She is currently President of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA).At the age of sixteen, Guy-Sheftall entered Spelman College where she majored in English and minored in secondary education. After graduation with honors, she attended Wellesley College for a fifth year of study in English. After a year at Wellesley, she entered Atlanta University to pursue a master’s degree in English. Her thesis was entitled “Faulkner’s Treatment of Women in His Major Novels.” A year later Guy-Sheftall began her first teaching job in the Department of English at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1971 she returned to her alma mater, Spelman College, and joined the English Department. Guy-Sheftall has been involved with the national women’s studies movement since its inception and provided leadership for the establishment of the first women’s studies major at a historically Black college. Beyond the academy, she has been involved in a number of advocacy organizations which include the National Black Women’s Health Project, the National Council for Research on Women, and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, on whose boards she has served. In her role as Director of Spelman’s Women’s Center, she has also been involved with the development of student activism around misogynist images of Black women in hip hop as well as a broad range of social justice issues, including reproductive rights and violence against women. She teaches women’s studies courses, including feminist theory and global Black feminisms.