Giddings will examine the life and historical context of pre-Depression era anti-lynching and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells, who is the subject of her latest book, Ida: A Sword Among Lions (Amistad). This volume won the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Biography and was described by Judge Kenneth Turan as “nothing less than a post-Reconstruction history of black America up to the Depression,” and an account of “the battle against Jim Crow, the campaign for women’s suffrage, the pressure to make the major political parties more responsive, the influence of black journalism, the rise of black civic organizations (and the competition among them), and the effort to raise awareness of lynching in hopes of ending it.”
Ida also received the 2008 Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians, the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights Outstanding Book Award, and was the 2009 Nonfiction winner of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for 2008 and was named a Best Book of 2008 by both the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune.
Giddings is the Elizabeth A. Woodson 1922 Professor of Afro-American Studies at Smith College, where she also serves as editor of the scholarly journal Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism. She is the author of three other books: When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (Amistad); In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement (Amistad); and Burning All Illusions (Nation Books), an anthology of articles on race published by the Nation magazine from 1867 to 2000. She has written extensively on international and national issues for the Washington Post, the New York Times, and many others.
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