• Sep 12, 2018

Dr. Janet Dewart Bell: “Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement”

  • 4:00-5:30 pm
  • Wasserstein Hall, Milstein 2036 East C, Harvard Law School

A talk by Dr. Janet Dewart Bell, followed by a book signing. Books will be available for sale by the Harvard Coop.

Dr. Bell is the widow of Derrick Bell, the first African American tenured professor at Harvard Law School.

Artist Connie Cagampang Heller will present her portrait of Derrick Bell titled “Courage.”

Co-sponsored by the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Office of Student Affairs

“During the Civil Rights Movement, African American women did not stand on ceremony; they simply did the work that needed to be done. Yet despite their significant contributions at all levels of the movement, they remain mostly invisible to the larger public. Beyond Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, most Americans would be hard-pressed to name other leaders at the community, local, and national levels.

In Lighting the Fires of Freedom Janet Dewart Bell shines a light on women’s all-too-often overlooked achievements in the Movement. Through wide-ranging conversations with nine women, several now in their nineties with decades of untold stories, we hear what ignited and fueled their activism, as Bell vividly captures their inspiring voices. Lighting the Fires of Freedom offers these deeply personal and intimate accounts of extraordinary struggles for justice that resulted in profound social change, stories that are vital and relevant today.

Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (commonly known as the Fair Housing Act), Lighting the Fires of Freedom is a vital document for understanding the Civil Rights Movement and an enduring testament to the vitality of women’s leadership during one of the most dramatic periods of American history.”