Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, B.A. ’94 and M.A. ’97, Associate Professor of History at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, was recently awarded the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award for her manuscript Crossing the Line: Women’s Interracial Activism in South Carolina during and After World War II (University Press of Florida, 2014), by the Association of Black Women Historians at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in Memphis, Tennessee.
Crossing the Line chronicles black and white women who were accustomed to a segregated society in South Carolina but who worked both individually and collectively to change their state’s unequal racial status quo. In this work she explores the early activism of black women in organizations including the NAACP, the South Carolina Progressive Democratic Party, and the South Carolina Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. At the same time, Dr. Jones-Branch discusses the involvement of white women in such groups as the YWCA and Church Women United. In the final analysis, she argues that where possible, black and white women’s interactions cross the racial divide in South Carolina helped set the groundwork for the broader civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s.