Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


African and African Diaspora Studies

First Advisor

Gladys L Mitchell-Walthour

Committee Members

Erin N Winkler, Anika Wilson, Douglas M Ihrke


Advocacy, Black Women, Intersectionality


In the period following World War II, the National Association for the Advancement of

Colored People (NAACP) served as the longest standing and most experienced organization

serving African Americans. It was during this postwar period, from 1945 to 1995, that its

membership boomed at the regional and local levels and the organization worked to ensure

federal anti-discrimination policies benefited black Americans through their various branches. In

this dissertation, which draws on research from the NAACP archives, I argue that from 1945 to

1995 the NAACP addressed the needs of black women by advocating for them in housing

struggles, employment litigation, and the fight against police brutality. They key issues that

emerged for black women were housing, defense against police brutality, and employment

advocacy. I apply the theoretical framework of intersectionality to analyze how these three

advocacy issues for the NAACP operated at the intersections of race, gender, and class in the

lives of black women in the United States.