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Bertha Maxwell-Roddey: A Modern-Day Race Woman and the Power of Black Leadership

This biography of educational activist and Black studies forerunner Bertha Maxwell-Roddey examines a life of remarkable achievements and leadership in the desegregated South.

Sonya Ramsey modernizes the nineteenth-century term "race
woman" to describe how Maxwell-Roddey and her peers turned hard-won civil rights and feminist milestones into tangible accomplishments in North Carolina and nationwide from the late 1960s to the 1990s.

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Sonya Y. Ramsey is a Professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies and the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. Ramsey is the author of several historical works, including the recently released Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, a Modern-Day Race Woman, and the Power of Black Leadership (University Press of Florida) and Reading, Writing, and Segregation: a Century of Black Women Teachers in Nashville, (University of Illinois Press).

A sought-after speaker and research consultant on themes relating to education, desegregation, African American women’s history, oral history, US history post-1877, and Women’s and Gender Studies, Dr. Ramsey served as a consultant or provided information for Axios, Charlotte Magazine, NPR, (National Public Radio),, and USA Today. A proud graduate of Howard University with a BA in Journalism, she also received a master’s and a Ph.D. in United States History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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"An excellent biography reflective of the great contributions of Maxwell-Roddey to
K-12 Black education, higher education, and African American studies. A beautifully written tribute to one of the most consequential Black educators of our time. Well balanced in historical execution and tone, this book will stand the test of time." - Derrick P. Alridge, co-editor of The Black Intellectual Tradition: African American Thought in the Twentieth Century



"Provides an in-depth view of the role of a race woman during the post-civil rights
movement. Maxwell-Roddey's presence in academic, local, and civil circles produced dividends that are being reaped by a community that is still unaware of her influence."-Reginald K. Ellis, author of Between Washington and Du Bois: The Racial Politics of James Edward Shepard



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