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Dr. Joyce Ladner    

Civil Rights Activist, Author & Sociologist

Joyce Ladner was a professor of sociology, provost, and interim president at Howard University. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the District of Columbia Financial Control Board to balance the city’s budget after it became bankrupt. She was also a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

As a sociologist, Ladner studied and interpreted the intersectionality of race, gender and class in her book, Tomorrow’s Tomorrow: The Black Woman that was the forerunner of the field of Black Girlhood Studies and is a canon in her field. Her second book, The Death of White Sociology, was a landmark work that challenged the value neutrality of mainstream sociology. Her other books include Mixed Families: Adopting Across Racial Boundaries, The Ties that Bind- Timeless Values for African American Families and Launching Our Black Children for Success. She studied the roles of Tanzanian women in nation building and she has lived in Dakar, Senegal as well.

A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, she began her fight for social justice as a teenager when she helped organize an NAACP Youth Chapter in her hometown. She was expelled from Jackson State College in 1961 for organizing a civil rights protest.

Ladner was on the front lines of most of the major civil rights protests in the sixties including Greenwood, Birmingham, Albany, Georgia, Selma, and Jackson. As a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), she was mentored by civil rights pioneers Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker. She worked with slain civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Vernon Dahmer and two of the three civil rights workers, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, who were murdered during Mississippi Freedom Summer.

She was on the twelve person staff that organized the March on Washington in 1963 under the direction of Bayard Rustin and A. Phillip Randolph in Harlem. She was on the stage when Dr. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech. She is in the movie, RUSTIN, on Netflix as a student member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Ladner is completing her memoir titled that captures the spirit of her 1960’s generation of young civil rights workers who challenged segregation and discrimination in the South and changed the face of America.

Ladner earned a B.A. from Tougaloo College (1964) and a Ph.D. from Washington University, St. Louis (1968).

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