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Products for grant FZ-261403-18

The Sisterhood: A Black Women's Literary Organization
Courtney Thorsson, University of Oregon

Grant details:

"The Sisterhood and Black Women's Literary Organizing" (Invited Talk) (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: "The Sisterhood and Black Women's Literary Organizing" (Invited Talk)
Author: Courtney Thorsson
Abstract: This talk shares the story of a Black women writers' group in late 1970s New York that changed literary history. The Sisterhood worked together to secure publication and publicity for Black women writers as their Black Feminist labor moved from political organizing, to literary organizing, and eventually into the academy.
Date: 02/04/19
Conference Name: University of Georgia Department of English

"The Sisterhood, Literary Organizing, and The Archive" (Invited Talk) (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: "The Sisterhood, Literary Organizing, and The Archive" (Invited Talk)
Author: Courtney Thorsson
Abstract: A 1977 photo of "The Sisterhood," a writers' group in New York in the late 1970s that included June Jordan, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, and Alice Walker has circulated as a source of inspiration since it was first published in 2004. This paper tells the story of a research journey from that photo to my book manuscript, The Sisterhood and Black Women's Literary Organizing. Taking my project as a case study, I consider the possibilities and challenges of engaging archives of contemporary African American literature. This paper describes a number of Black Feminist research methods including simultaneously constructing and using archives, engaging Black women writers across genres as theorists, rendering women's work visible, and grappling with loss.
Date: 11/01/19
Conference Name: Symposium, "African American Literature and Culture Now," University of Michigan Department of English

"Creation Is Everything You Do: Shange, The Sisterhood & Black Collectivity" (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: "Creation Is Everything You Do: Shange, The Sisterhood & Black Collectivity"
Abstract: In the 1970s Black women writers began gathering in Brooklyn and Manhattan, forming themselves into a group who came to be informally known as The Sisterhood. Uplifting each others’ lives and honing their craft, they were central to an explosion of 1970s and 1980s literature that included for colored girls who have considered a suicide when the rainbow is enuf. On social media, the photo of these future literary legends, including Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, June Jordan, Patricia Spears Jones, Margo Jefferson, and Ntozake Shange, among many others, is iconic. Join our invited writers for a discussion of Shange’s place in the Sisterhood and other collectives. Where does literary organizing fit into histories of Black feminist activism? What lessons can these earlier groups offer young people today about organizing and cultivating artistic communities? And how can they claim space for radical voices?
Author: Courtney Thorsson
Author: Patricia Spears
Author: Mecca Jamiliah Sullivan
Date: 03/16/2021
Location: Online via Zoom and live-streamed on YouTube
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Webpage for event.
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Video of event.