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Dr. Joyce Ladner    

Civil Rights Activist, Author & Sociologist

Dr. Joyce Ladner is is an American civil rights activist, author, civil servant and sociologist. One of the nation’s preeminent thought leaders, her career has been shaped through her first hand involvement with the civil rights movement in Mississippi and as a staff member that organized the March on Washington in 1963. She worked alongside Bayard Rustin and other civil rights leaders.

In 1963, Ladner was jailed for a week for attempting to integrate the all-white Galloway Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. She is a native Mississippian and 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 Mississippi for organizing a civil rights protest.

While Ladner was a Tougaloo student, she was in and out of the Delta and other parts of the state, helping organize voter registration drives. She also helped organize the March on Washington under the direction of Bayard Rustin.

She was a friend and worked with slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, as well as civil rights pioneers Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker. As a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Ladner was on the front lines of most of the major civil rights protests in the sixties including Greenwood, Birmingham, Albany, Selma and other dangerous areas and was on the stage when Dr. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech.

An eminent sociologist, Ladner has studied and interpreted the intersectionality of race, gender and class. Her book, Tomorrow’s Tomorrow: The Black Woman was the first book published in African American Women’s Studies and is now an American classic. Her book, The Death of White Sociology, was a landmark work that challenged the value neutrality of mainstream sociology. She has published five additional books and numerous articles.

Ladner was a professor of sociology at Hunter College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, and Howard University. She also served as provost and interim president of Howard University. Ladner earned a B.A. from Tougaloo College and a Ph.D. from Washington University, St. Louis. She studied the roles of Tanzanian women in nation building and she has lived in Dakar, Senegal as well.

President Bill Clinton appointed Ladner to the District of Columbia Financial Control Board, which balanced the budget of the District of Columbia. She was also a senior fellow in the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institution She has appeared on nationally syndicated radio and television programs.

In January 2008, Ladner started a blog called The Ladner Report, for which she commented on the 2008 United States presidential race and openly supported the campaign and presidency of Barack Obama. Ladner also frequently posts news articles, posts from other blogs or other media that relate to Obama, national politics and the black community.

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