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Grant number like: FZ-261403-18

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Award Number Grant ProgramAward RecipientProject TitleAward PeriodApproved Award Total
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FZ-261403-18Research Programs: Public ScholarsCourtney ThorssonThe Sisterhood: A Black Women's Literary Organization9/1/2018 - 8/31/2019$60,000.00Courtney Thorsson   University of OregonEugeneOR97403-5219USA2018American LiteraturePublic ScholarsResearch Programs600000600000

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on a circle of African American women writers and how they supported one another's work and careers. The group, which included Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Audre Lorde, met regularly in New York in the 1970s.

"The Sisterhood and Black Women's Literary Organizing" is an interpretive cultural history of African American women writers who met in New York from 1977-1978. A photo of some of these women labeled "The Sisterhood" appears frequently online and occasionally in academic books as a source of excitement and inspiration, rarely with any context. Through archival research, I have confirmed that the group was more formal than references to it suggest: they met once a month, kept minutes, and collected dues. Writers Alice Walker and June Jordan founded the group. Members included journalists Margo Jefferson and Phyl Garland; culinary writers Vertamae Grosvenor and Jessica Harris; poets Ntozake Shange and Audre Lorde; and novelist Toni Morrison, who would go on to become the most prominent former member. I use meeting minutes, correspondence, biographies, and interviews to uncover and narrate the everyday work of The Sisterhood to secure publication and publicity for black women writers.