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.


Not for African-American Women

Not for African-American Women

More From Beverly

In this video

Tagged as

Guy-Sheftall describes  the largely negative 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

Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King
Tennis Champion & Activist

Billie Jean King first learned tennis in the late 1950s on the public courts in Long Beach, California. The game ultimately took her farther than she could possibly have imagined. ...

Jean Kilbourne
Jean Kilbourne
Media Educator

Jean Kilbourne is a feminist author, and speaker, who focuses on the image of women in advertising. Best-known for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising campaigns...

Sara Hurwitz
Sara Hurwitz
First Female Orthodox "Rabba"

Sara Hurwitz is the first officially ordained “Rabba,” in Orthodox Judaism. She is the Rabba at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and the Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, also...

Ellie Smeal
Ellie Smeal
Co-Founder & President, Feminist Majority

Eleanor (Ellie) Smeal, is Co-Founder and President of the Feminist Majority Foundation and former President of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Through both organizations...