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In Their Own Voices: Black Women's Lives from the Archives Opening Event

  • Monday, November 6, 2023
    4 PM ET
  • Online on Zoom
Archival photographic portrait of young African American women.
Group portrait of Delta Sigma Theta members, ca. 1940. Records of the Boston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, MC 654/Schlesinger Library

The opening event for the Harvard Radcliffe Institute exhibition In Their Own Voices features Taryn Jordan (Colgate University), Kalimah Redd Knight (The League of Women for Community Service), and Holly Smith (Spelman College) in conversation with the curator Petrina Jackson.

The exhibition celebrates the power of defining oneself while highlighting the lifework and legacies of Black women whose papers are held at the Schlesinger Library. The featured collections include those of graphic designer Louise E. Jefferson, civil and women’s rights activist Pauli Murray, and educator Rebecca Primus. They offer a rich array of materials, giving viewers an opportunity to listen to, view, and read about the experiences of Black women in their private and public lives.

In Their Own Voices spans generations, as storytellers from the community—including some from the Black Women Oral History Project and current students—continue the conversations evoked by these archives. In this exhibition, Black women create their own narratives as part of this powerful and ongoing archival lineage.

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study gratefully acknowledges the Helen Blumen and Jan Acton Fund for Schlesinger Library Exhibitions for their support of this exhibition.


Taryn Jordan, assistant professor of women's studies, Colgate University

Kalimah Redd Knight, president, The League of Women for Community Service, and senior deputy director of media relations, Tufts University

Holly Smith, college archivist, Women's Research & Resource Center, Spelman College

Moderator: Petrina Jackson, Lia Gelin Poorvu Executive Director of the Schlesinger Library and librarian of the Harvard Radcliffe Institute

Event Video

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