To Turn the Whole World Over

To Turn the Whole World Over: Black Women and Internationalism
Edited by Keisha N. Blain and Tiffany M. Gill

Afterword by Michael O. West

White House Conference Group of the National Women’s Council; (Mary McLeod Bethune, center; Mary Church Terrell, to her right), 1938, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division.

Black women undertook an energetic and unprecedented engagement with internationalism from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s. In many cases, their work reflected a complex effort to merge internationalism with issues of women’s rights and with feminist concerns. To Turn the Whole World Over examines these and other issues with a collection of cutting-edge essays on black women’s internationalism in this pivotal era and beyond. Analyzing the contours of gender within black internationalism, scholars examine the range and complexity of black women’s global engagements. At the same time, they focus on these women’s remarkable experiences in shaping internationalist movements and dialogues. The essays explore the travels and migrations of black women; the internationalist writings of women from Paris to Chicago to Spain; black women advocating for internationalism through art and performance; and the involvement of black women in politics, activism, and global freedom struggles.


Table of Contents

Introduction: Black Women and the Complexities of Internationalism

Part I: Travel and Migrations

  • Brandon R. Byrd, “We are Negroes!” The Haitian Zambo, Racial Spectacle, and the Performance of Black Women’s Internationalism, 1863-1877
  • Annette K. Joseph-Gabriel, Feminist Networks and Diasporic Practices: Eslanda Robeson’s African Journeys
  • Kim Gallon, Black Women, Internationalism, and the Chicago Defender during the “Golden Age of Tourism
  • Tiffany N. Florvil, ‘Distant Ties’: May Ayim’s Transnational Solidarity and Activism

Part II: Creating Black Internationalism

  • Anne Donlon, Thyra Edwards’ Scrapbook: A Black Feminist History of the Spanish Civil War
  • Nicole Anae, They will all be my color”: Nina Mae McKinney and Black Internationalism in 1930s Australia
  • Stephanie Beck Cohen, Stitched Networks: Liberian Quilters, Transatlantic Diplomacy, and Community

Part III: Political Activism and Global Freedom Struggles

  • Keisha N. Blain, “Confraternity Among all Dark Races”: Mittie Maude Lena Gordon and the Practice of Black (Inter)nationalism in Chicago, 1932-1942
  • Grace V. Leslie, “United, We Build a Free World”: The Internationalism of Mary McLeod Bethune and the National Council of Negro Women
  • Julia Erin Wood, “What that Meant to Me”: SNCC Women, the 1964 Guinea Trip, and Black Internationalism
  • Dayo F. Gore, “‘A Common Rallying Call’: Vicki Garvin in China and the Making of U.S. Third World Solidarity Politics”

*A volume in the series Black Internationalism, edited by Keisha N. Blain and Quito Swan