Joyce Ladner to discuss her life, civil rights March 11

February 25, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Joyce Ladner organized civil rights protests in Mississippi in the early 1960s alongside Medgar Evers, Bayard Rustin and other leaders in the historic movement.

Ladner will visit Penn State for a discussion on her life in the civil rights movement, at 6 p.m. on March 11 in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium. Her visit is sponsored by the Africana Research Center in the College of the Liberal Arts as part of the Barbara Jordan Lecture Series.

Joyce Ladner will present a talk on her live in the civil rights movement March 11 at 6 p.m. Paterno Library's Foster Auditorium.

Joyce Ladner will present a talk on her live in the civil rights movement March 11 at 6 p.m. Paterno Library's Foster Auditorium. The event is part of the Barbara Jordan Lecture Series founded by the Africana Research Center in the College of the Liberal Arts.

IMAGE: Image Provided

Ladner was born in Battles, Mississippi, on Oct. 12, 1943. She founded a chapter of the NAACP Youth Council in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in the 1950s and joined the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee as students at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi.

She helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, as well as voter registration drives across Mississippi. She was arrested and jailed for a week for attempting to integrate the all-white Galloway Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi.

Ladner earned a bachelor of arts in sociology from Tougaloo College in 1964 after being expelled from Jackson State University for her activism.  She went on to earn a doctorate in sociology from Washington University in St. Louis in 1968. She is a distinguished alumna of Tougaloo College and Washington University and has served on the faculty of Hunter College and Howard University.  She is also the only woman to serve as president of Howard University.

As a sociologist, Ladner’s work focused on 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.

The Africana Research Center began the Barbara Jordan Lecture Series in 2004 to recognize and introduce the Penn State community to the scholarship of an African-American civil rights activist. Previous Jordan Lecture speakers include Julian Bond and Angela Davis. 

“Joyce Ladner was a participant in many of the major civil rights campaigns of the 1960s and her visit is a chance to give students, staff and faculty the opportunity to reflect on how we can continue the important work undertaken during the civil rights era,” said Crystal Sanders, director of the Africana Research Center and associate professor of History and African American Studies. "We are excited to welcome her to Penn State.”

Ladner’s March 11 lecture is free and open to the public. For more information about the Africana Research Center, visit arc.la.psu.edu.

Last Updated March 20, 2019