By Jennifer Scanlon
Professor of Gender and Women's Studies
A demanding feminist, devout Christian, and savvy grassroots civil rights organizer, Anna Arnold Hedgeman played a key role in over half a century of social justice initiatives. Like many of her colleagues, including A. Philip Randolph, Betty Friedan, and Martin Luther King, Jr., Hedgeman ought to be a household name, but until now has received only a fraction of the attention she deserves.
In Until There Is Justice, author Jennifer Scanlon presents the first-ever biography of Hedgeman. Through a commitment to faith-based activism, civil rights, and feminism, Hedgeman participated in and led some of the 20th century's most important developments, including advances in education, public health, politics, and workplace justice. Simultaneously a dignified woman and scrappy freedom fighter, Hedgeman's life upends conventional understandings of many aspects of the civil rights and feminist movements. She worked as a teacher, lobbyist, politician, social worker, and activist, often crafting and implementing policy behind the scenes. Although she repeatedly found herself a woman among men, a black American among whites, and a secular Christian among clergy, she maintained her conflicting identities and worked alongside others to forge a common humanity.
From helping black and Puerto Rican Americans achieve critical civil service employment in New York City during the Great Depression to orchestrating white religious Americans' participation in the 1963 March on Washington, Hedgeman's contributions transcend gender, racial, and religious boundaries. Engaging and profoundly inspiring, Scanlon's biography paints a compelling portrait of one of the most remarkable yet understudied civil rights leaders of our time. Until There Is Justice is a must-read for anyone with a passion for history, biography, and civil rights.
-From Oxford University Press