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Call for Papers
Legacy Forum 42.1- Black Women's Organizing Archive (BWOA)

The late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century saw a surge in organizations and clubs founded by and for Black women to uplift Black communities. Launched in 2020, the Black Women’s Organizing Archive (BWOA) brings together the scattered papers and collections  of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Black women organizers. Through web-published directories, data visualizations, and digital maps, BWOA locates and centers Black women’s archival materials that too often have been obscured or subsumed under the collections of Black male intellectuals or white abolitionists and reformers. Working in collaborative partnerships with scholars, student leaders, archivists, community members, digital humanities specialists, artists, and poets, the project supports the critical, pedagogical, and creative engagement of broader publics with the papers and collections of clubwomen like Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, recognizing their intellectual and activist contributions to Black women’s movements for equal rights and full citizenship. As such, we invite contributors to this forum to speak to 1) the importance of making these archival materials more accessible to researchers and community members, 2) their own critical/creative approaches to these or related scattered archives, and/or 3) their integration of these materials into their teaching and research practices. 


The Forum, guest edited by Shirley Moody-Turner, Sabrina Evans, and Yolanda Mackey, will open with a collaborative essay situating the historic work of the Black women’s club movement, provide a survey of key archival resources and related projects, and discuss the work of BWOA and its innovative approach to building collaborative research, digital archival building, and community-centered knowledge production. We seek essays and reflections of 2000-3000 words, especially from literary scholars, early career researchers, creative artists, and archivists to demonstrate the fruitfulness of this material for research, community-engagement, and digitization efforts to illuminate the expansiveness (both intellectually and geographically) of Black women’s writing and community organizing during this period. We also invite poetic engagements with BWOA archival materials. The multi-generic format of the Forum will be representative of and a model for the innovative, collaborative work of BWOA and other exciting digital projects that seek to center community engagement and reach broader audiences.  


Please email abstracts of no more than 300 words to with “Legacy Forum: BWOA” by April 16, 2024. Prospective contributors will be asked to submit a draft of their essay by July 31, 2024. The expected publication date for the issue is June 2025. 


Prospective contributors should feel free to email inquiries about the forum.