Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Profile

Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Pioneer of Black Women's Studies

More From Beverly

In this video

Tagged as

Beverly Guy-Sheftall on creating the first women's studies program at a historically black college and the reaction to feminism in the African American community.

Beverly's Biography

 
Childhood Sspiration: To become a pediatrician.
Scholarly Streak:  Missed only three days of school between kindergarten and 12th grade.
Thesis Topic: “Faulkner’s Treatment of Women in His Major Novels”
Proudest Accomplishment: “Making feminism very attractive to young women.”

As one of the leading African-American feminist scholars of our time, Beverly Guy-Sheftall was instrumental in bringing the women’s studies movement to women of color, and the voices of women of color to women’s studies. Highlights from her forty-year academic career include the founding of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College in 1981, and the co-founding of SAGE: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women in 1983. She is an important figure in what she once described to Ms. Magazine as “the stunning tradition of black female intellectualism."
 
Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Guy-Sheftall has spent most of her adult life at Spelman College, the oldest historically black college for women. She entered Spelman as a student at the age of 16, where she studied English and secondary education. After receiving her Masters in English from Atlanta University and teaching briefly at Alabama State University, she returned to Spelman in 1971. She has taught there ever since, providing the leadership to create the first women’s studies major at a historically black college.
 
In that time, she has published a number of works on African-American women’s literature and feminism, including the first anthology on black women’s literature, Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Women in Literature (Doubleday, 1980), which she co-edited with Roseann P. Bell and Bettye Parker Smith. She is the recipient of a Kellogg National Fellowship and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Her most recent publication is Gender Talk: The Struggle for Equality in African American Communities [2003].

Related Videos

Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Former Secretary of State

Raised in Birmingham, Alabama Rice was on her way to becoming a concert pianist before turning to international relations and developing a career as a respected Soviet specialist. ...

Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor
Director of Theatre & Film

Director Julie Taymor was born into theatrics. Raised outside of Boston by a family who encouraged her early independence and passion for theater, Taymor entrenched herself in perf...

Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron
Writer & Director

Nora Ephron is a best-selling writer, director, and producer. Born in 1941 in New York City, and raised in Beverly Hills, Ephron was the daughter of screenwriters, Henry and Phoebe...

Boston Women's Health Book Collective
Boston Women's Health Book Collective
Our Bodies, Ourselves

The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (now known as Our Bodies Ourselves) is the non-profit responsible for Our Bodies, Ourselves, the revolutionary women's health an...