Black Women Activist’s Networks, Postwar Travels, and Emerging Cold War Politics
This paper will explore African American women’s leadership in the wave of women’s transnational activism that emerged following World War II both among left-leaning peace organizations such as the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) and labor organizations such as the AFL-CIO. The paper will specifically trace the activism and travel of seasoned activists Thelma Dale Perkins, who was active in the Southern Negro Youth Congress, briefly served as Executive Director of the National Negro Congress and worked with the WIDF and Maida Springer Kemp, a labor activist and member of the International Ladies Garment Worker Union, who was active in the AFL-CIO and would later lead its international organizing efforts in Africa. The paper examines both women’s visit to Europe in 1945 as representatives in two very different women’s contingents to witness the aftermath of World War II and their emergence as key participants in building transnational networks just as the Cold War was taking shape.
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