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Bay Path University professor Janine Fondon, MFA, G'22 contributes chapter to book, “It’s Our Movement Now: Black Women’s Politics and the 1977 National Women’s Conference"

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Longmeadow, MA—Bay Path professor Janine Fondon G'22, MFA has contributed a chapter to the book, “It’s Our Movement Now: Black Women’s Politics and the 1977 National Women’s Conference.” The book, published by the University Press of Florida, offers a panoramic view of Black feminist politics through the stories of 18 Black women who attended the 1977 National Women’s Conference. The historic event was held in Houston and brought over 2,000 delegates and an additional 32,000 observers together to address women’s economic, social, and political inequality.

Fondon authored a chapter on the life and work of Dr. Gloria Dean Randle Scott, the first African American president of Girl Scouts of the USA.

“I was honored to write about Dr. Gloria Scott,” said Professor Fondon, Chair of the Department of Undergraduate Communication at Bay Path. “Dr. Scott was born and raised in Houston, and she opened the 1977 National Women’s Conference with a gavel raised in hope and intention. As an African American woman leading the Girl Scouts, she helped transform one of the country’s oldest youth organizations for girls, which was largely segregated until the 1950s. She set the tone for inclusion and change at the conference.”

In addition to Fondon’s chapter on Dr. Scott, the book profiles the diverse perspectives and ideologies that Black women brought to the conference through their various professional and political positions. The story of Michelle Cearcy, a Houston teenager who served as a torchbearer for the conference is included among chapters on political luminaries such as Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Coretta Scott King, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

The book was edited by Laura L. Lovett, professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh; Rachel Jessica Daniel, director of the Center for Employee Enrichment and Development and professor of English at Massasoit Community College; and Kelly N. Giles, a Ph.D. student in sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; with photographs by Diana Mara Henry.

The book, ‘It’s Our Movement Now: Black Women’s Politics and the 1977 National Women’s Conference’ places the diversity of Black women’s experiences and their leadership at the center of the history of the women’s movement.

“These women brought new conversations to the 1977 National Women's Conference and to their own communities, all to shape a more inclusive narrative and an agenda that fuels action and change,” notes Fondon. “Their stories continue to resonate with us today.”

About Bay Path University

Bay Path University was founded in 1897. Bay Path’s enrolled population of over 3,000 includes traditional undergraduates; adult women at The American Women's College, the first all-women, all-online accredited degree program in the country; and women and men master’s and doctoral students. Bay Path’s goal is to give students confidence in the fundamentals of their chosen field, the curiosity to question the ordinary, the leadership to show initiative, and the desire to make a difference.