VFOA United States

Women of the Original IBW

This segment of VFOA works to collect, digitize, and celebrate the voices of women who were active in the original Institute of the Black World, a Black independent activist think tank that flourished from the late 1960s until the early 1980s. IBW was essential to the establishment of Black Studies programs in universities across the United States, and provided research for Black activist organizations around the world.

While the narratives of the men involved in IBW have been well documented, the women’s experiences, roles, accomplishments, and perspectives have been largely absent from the historical record until now.

To date, VFOA has conducted eight interviews of women who were active in the creation, operation, and closing of IBW’s physical offices. These interviews include incisive reflections on gender dynamics within the organization, rich socio-historical commentary, and insightful discussions about the ways the women’s involvement with civil rights activism influenced the trajectories of their lives.