AAUW Coretta Scott King Fellows: Scholars and Women of Action

February 29, 2012

The 1960s were a decade of profound change and hope in the development of equality for African Americans, and Coretta Scott King was a powerful and influential advocate for the rights of African American women. In a Solidarity Day Speech in 1968, she called for women to “unite and form a solid block of women power to fight the three great evils of racism, poverty, and war.” AAUW members honored King by raising more than $150,000 for the AAUW Coretta Scott King Educational Fund. The fund would eventually support 46 women, primarily African American undergraduate and graduate students in Afro-American studies, peace studies, and nonviolent-change programs. Those 46 women pursued King’s vision and became leaders in academia, business, their professions, the arts, and public service.

These are just a few of their stories.

Nell Irvin Painter is a leading historian and the Edwards Professor of American History at Princeton University. She has received honorary doctorates from Wesleyan University, Dartmouth University, Yale University, and the State University of New York, New Paltz. Painter’s most recent book, The History of White People, traces the invention of the idea of a white race. She has appeared in films and on television, including on The Colbert Report. Painter received her AAUW award in 1970 while completing her doctorate in American studies at Harvard University.

Redenia C. Gilliam-Moose taught at Rutgers University, Livingston, in the department of urban studies and community development from 1972 to 1979. Gilliam-Moose received her AAUW award while completing her doctorate at Rutgers. She was the first African American woman vice president in the Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino industry. Gilliam-Moose was also the first woman to be elected chair of the board of directors of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. She served as the president of the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club for 20 years. She passed away in January of 2010, leaving a profound mark on the Atlantic City community.

Portia K. Maultsby is currently the Laura Boulten Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and the director of the Archives of African American Music and Culture at Indiana University. In 2009, she developed and wrote A History of African American Music, an interactive time line for Carnegie Hall’s two-week festival Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy. She also served as the general consultant, adviser, and editorial assistant for the festival. Maultsby received her AAUW award in 1970 while completing her doctorate.

Lisbeth Gant-Britton serves as the student affairs officer for the interdepartmental program in Afro-American studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also the author of the textbook Holt African-American History. Gant-Britton was previously an editor at Essence magazine and a news writer and producer for Westinghouse and ABC. She has taught courses at Chaffey College, UCLA, Kalamazoo College, the University of Southern California, and Pitzer College. Gant-Britton received her AAUW award in 1969, which allowed her to study in Africa for the summer.

As Black History Month draws to a close, we celebrate the women of the AAUW Coretta Scott King Educational Fund and honor their accomplishments on behalf of all women. This is a small sample of information about the women who have received this award, but we would love to hear from other honorees. If you know of someone who received this fellowship, please get in touch. ​

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Elyssa Shildneck.

By:   |   February 29, 2012

1 Comment

  1. Elyssa Shildneck says:

    For a complete list of fellows visit our History of Coretta Scott King Fund Page: http://www.aauw.org/learn/awards/CorettaScottKingFund.cfm

    If you’d like to contact us, please email fellowships@aauw.org

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