Randolph Curates Black Feminist Exhibit for National Women’s History Museum
Sherie Randolph, a historian of black feminism and associate professor in the School of History and Sociology, has curated the first-ever physical exhibit for the National Women’s History Museum in Washington. Although the museum has hosted many online exhibits since it was founded in 1996, Randolph’s is the first that visitors can explore in person.
The interactive display, titled We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC, focuses on “the stories and voices of Black feminist organizers and theorists — including Anna Julia Cooper, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mary Treadwell, and Nkenge Touré — whose expansive work made a difference in the lives of Black women in their Washington, D.C., communities and for all people throughout the United States,” according to the museum website. It will run through Fall 2024 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
Randolph worked with co-curator Kendra Taira Field, an associate professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University, to create the exhibit. Students in Randolph’s HTS 3803 Black Feminism class also played an integral role in developing ideas and research, she said, adding: “It was great learning about Black feminism through their eyes."
Skylar Edwards, a student in Randolph's class, shared videos of the opening night, highlighting the interactive wall she and her classmates helped create, where visitors flip through words to fill out their vision for the future.
"I was in awe of the accomplishments of the diverse group of women included in the exhibit," said Jendayia Taylor, another student in Randolph's course. "I hope it empowers others in the same way it empowers me."
In an article in the Washington Post, Randolph explained why sharing the story of these Black feminists is so important.
Even in mainstream (read: White) feminism, Randolph says, “Black women’s blueprint is sometimes wiped away.” But “that doesn’t mean that you don’t keep working” toward ending all oppression. “You keep pushing the ball up the hill,” she continues. “At times, the ball falls back down, but at times they get somewhere. We don’t want to forget where they’re going.”