Leadership Concepts and the duality of Black Women Leadership has historically been a title and position held for the wealthy, the male sex, and the Anglo in America. Reasons for this range from self proclaimed God right and the enslavement of a large portion of America’s inhabitants. For the African-American male in America, the rise to leadership has been a tremendous struggle; though he has overcome may obstacles. College educations, determination, and martyrdom trail blazed the rise of African- American male leaders. The path to leadership for the African American women was fought on two different fronts.
One front was the battle for racial equality, and the other was women’s rights and suffrage. Those issues were two of the largest civil right issues in American history. The mere fact that African-American women tore down each wall of intolerance and have taken many roles in leadership is a testament to the strength and character of the African American Woman. Without the power of language, emotional intelligence, relationship building, and systems thinking the African American women leaders would not have become a factor in the American leadership arena of the past and present.
A leader is a facilitator of relationships. He or she uses those relationships to bring people together for a common purpose. From the introduction of the African to America the women were taken and separated from family and sexually oppressed during slavery. Without being able to nurture and facilitate the relationships around her, they had no place in leadership. It wasn’t until centuries later did African-American women participate in something that took a group effort and leadership techniques. African American women played a key role in the Suffrage Movement.
It was a social, economic and political reform pavement aimed at extending the suffrage, which is the right to vote, to women, advocating equal suffrage rather than universal suffrage, which is the abolition of all discrimination, in a time where race relations was a radical subject. An African American woman by the name of Elizabeth Caddy Stanton was a leader in the movement. She used social distancing to help her cause. As noted by author Penn, “Stanton was not only an abolitionist and suffragist, but was a key leader in her community by establishing relationships with Black and White reformers” (Penn, 1998).
Social distancing is used by and used on leaders in all sectors. To appear closer to a person of importance or power, raises the appearance of your importance and makes you more relevant to your followers. An important art for a leader to master, is the art of organization. Margaret Whitley affirmed that, “the process of organizing involves developing relationships from a shared sense of purpose, exchanging and creating information, learning constantly, paying attention to the results of our efforts, co- adapting, co-evolving, developing wisdom as we learn” (Whitley).
A plan or idea without organization is doomed to survive the chaos of unknown obstacles. But o bring organization to a plan or group of people the facilitator must create a safe place. The safe place must include: Confidential dialogue, non- judgmental environment, understanding environment, environment that adds value and understanding. When this safe place of creativity is in place emotion and fear to innovate are set aside, and a collision of positive organization takes place.
In 1840 The World’s Anti-Slavery Convention was held in London, England. When the women delegates from the United States were not allowed to participate, Lucrative Moot and Elizabeth Caddy Stanton determine to have a women’s rights invention when they return home (Moot, 2001). At this time African-Americans were in captivity. They were slaves in the mind and in the body, so the political activity of African American’s at that point was minimal. Small revolts and acts of arson to the masters home and barns were the usual acts of group activity.
During the Revolutionary War, slaves named Jenny Slew and Elizabeth Freeman of Massachusetts successfully sued for their freedom on the grounds that the Bill of Rights applied to them as “persons”. Freeman’s case, heard in 1781, established the legal fact that “a Bill of Rights, in Massachusetts at least, had ended abolished slavery ‘ (Giddings, 1984). These 2 women did not attempt to force the idea of freed slaves to Massachusetts; they used the governing language and exploited its power it in their favor.
As written by author Daniel Hernandez regarding the “Power of language”, “This power of language to shape is succinctly expressed by the aphorism, “l may not be able to change your mind, but if I change your language I will change your mind”(Hernandez, 2008). They took a problem and created a solution. This is an important attribute for a leader of any group to possess. The end of Reconstruction brought about some change for the African- American woman. The country settled down enough for the concerns of the African-American woman to be heard.
They began to organize themselves in feminist organizations, these organizations varied widely in causes and missions for the groups. Some were for the end of the sexual exploitation of black women, voting rights, education, and the anti-lynching movement. America was beginning its industrial revolution and white women were apart of it. They were able to get out of the house and go to colleges for women, graduate, and work electively with other former housewives and earn wages own their own.
Soon enough the “white male” showed its disapproval of its women being effective in the work place, and started making it difficult for women to earn equal pay to the jobs they were doing. Black women recognized how white women were being treated and knew from the beginning that their journey to college and the workplace would be much, much more difficult. An example fifths if noted in Giddings book, “If white women were frustrated, Black women were even more so. Although growing numbers of Black women had the opportunity to enter allege and the professions, the masses of Black women still relegated to domestic and menial work.
They were excluded from such jobs as clerk and secretary, newly opened to women (who were being hired to replace men at lower wages), because White women wanted them” (Giddings, 1984). Black women then began to embrace to ideas of the National Black woman’s Club Movement. The White movement that preceded theirs was such a success that Black women built their whole ideal structure around it. There were historical similarities to the White and Black women’s organizations and their purposes for taking action. Giddings states, “The membership of both groups consisted mostly of middle-class educated women who were steeped in the Protestant ethic.
Neither group questioned the superiority of middle-class values or way of life, nor had any romantic notions of the inherent nobility of the poor, uneducated masses”; “For African-American women it was the demand for justice,” for the race and for themselves, that propelled them on to the next stage of their political development. And again it was Ida B. Wells who would be a catalyst for the creation off Black woman’s organization (Giddings, 1984). They ere looking for the justice for the whole race more so than themselves. In the 20th century the duality of the African-American woman and leadership positions came face to face with reality.
A change in the direction of the nations view on race relations caused doors and opportunities to be opened. Legislation was passed to curve the injustices barring African-Americans from changing their environment, which would then allow experiences, culture, and traditions to be altered. A change in one of these parts of everyday living can create a domino affect that shifts the mindset, in most cases, blooms leaders and individuals that hind on a systems level. The awe inspiring leadership of Angela Davis in the turmoil of the Civil Right movement gave great examples of changing traditions and systems thinking.
Davis was concerned about all African-Americans. She saw that you have to discover the root cause for an issue for the system the issue belongs, to be changed. Davis was a driving force for the change of the African American mindset. “Davis suggested focusing social efforts on education and building “engaged communities” to solve various social problems now handled through state punishment. “(Davis, 1989). In this systems approach, Davis saw that the justice system had far too many African Americans in jail. The crimes that put them in jail are not the root cause for the high numbers.
The upbringing of the individual and what they are taught at a young age guided them into the people they were. So, once the foundation of 1st class education and a strong community surrounding is set, this will change the trend of African American incarcerations. The African American community is directly affected by different systems. With so many facets determining outcomes in society, the economy, and politics, t takes a leader to determine where to start in the chain of events to change the end outcome. Systems’ thinking is to think of the causation of a problem rather than taking care of the problem itself.
For example: to fix the noise of the road for nearby neighborhoods, you wouldn’t stop cars from coming down the road, a leader would find the cause of the noise from things such as old pavement. The community leader would then find funding for the road itself to make it have less noise when cars ride across it. A Leader or Facilitator of relationships attempts to bring people, ideas, and cultures together to obtain a common goal. A leader does not have to be a politician, a religious figure, or a powerful businessperson.
A leader can be anyone who sees a problem or situation and takes the initiative to solve or bring resolution to the problem. A great mind by the name of Peter Auckland came up with notion of soft systems methodology. In this 7 step process you: Enter situation considered problematical, Express the problem situation, Formulate root definitions of relevant systems of purposeful activity, Build conceptual models of the systems named in the root definitions, Comparing models with real world situations, Define possible changes which re both possible and feasible, and lastly Take action to improve the problem situation (Braille, 1976).
African American women prior to 1970, unless taken out of the environment, were born into the close-knit web of the black community. Consequently, growing up in that environment stamped a lasting impression of how communities are affected by systems. As a result, the leaders that came out of that era focused heavily of the root causes in not just the African American community, but also the global community. Examples of these leaders are: Opera Winfred, Condolence Rice, and Barbara Jordan.
All born into the down toughen African American communities affected by social, economic, and political systems. Raising children is the middle of racial turmoil forced parents to teach a very important theory of leadership called emotional intelligence. This theory describes the ability, capacity, skill or a self-perceived ability; to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups. Daniel Coleman, made this theory famous, though he was not the first to prove its place in leadership performance.
This theory focuses of 4 areas: self-awareness, elf-management, social awareness, and relationship management (Wisped). These areas are important to Salesman’s theory, because they are not features that can be taught, but must be naturally embedded into the individual and this makes them hard to measure and nurture. Having emotional intelligence is the difference between a leader and a rash decision maker. Keeping a cool head and reasonable mind can prevent controversy. In modern times African-American women are respected and are in many leadership roles.
From the Presidential cabinet to the principals of schools filled tit the descendants of the very people that enslaved them a few centuries earlier. The duality of being both African-American and a woman has less of an impact. The doors that were once closed to women are breezeways for the progressive women of today. Now the leadership focus is on bringing together different kinds of people for one purpose. This task takes a special individual with a high interpersonal intelligence.
Howard Granger’s interpersonal intelligence theory says that people who have high interpersonal intelligence are usually extroverts. They are sensitive to others moods, feelings, and temperaments of individuals in their community. This causes them to be able to work well with others and often enjoy a friendly debate. This theory often outlines the characteristics of politicians, community leaders, and teachers due to the job descriptions. Granger’s interpersonal intelligence theory relates to the visionary, managerial, and entrepreneur theories.
One type of individual in Granger’s theory is a visionary. This type of person is one with a clear, distinctive and specific vision of the future, usually connected with advances in social political arrangements. Without a vision and leader would literally lead blindly. Most adders in history had a bright future in mind for their respective community. Without that true vision of changing or building upon something there is no community leader can effectively make a difference. Secondly, Howard Granger’s interpersonal intelligence theory touches the definition of a manager.
A manager is the catalyst in getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives. Without interpersonal intelligence the act in getting people to accomplish any task is a difficult feat. Lastly, Garners theory points at the entrepreneur. This individual’s type of personality is willing to take upon her r himself a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome. Even though a community leader or politician may not necessarily have the aim of wealth the drive of an entrepreneur is needed to fight through the hard times that anyone in the social spotlight endures through.
Mary Parker Foulest wrote, “l go to a committee meeting in order that all together we may create a group idea, an idea which will be better than any one of our ideas alone, moreover which will be better than all of our ideas added 1918). This quote reiterates the importance of the role of Granger’s interpersonal leader, ND how managing others ideas as well as your own while creating an outcome that you would stand behind is essential to your validity to your followers. In conclusion, it is said, that there is nothing that can stop an idea whose time has come.
In today’s society the idea of equal opportunity and the changing demographics of leaders have come to fruition. NOAA Chomsky was quoted saying, “l call you what you are and you become that”. This reiterates the point that the opportunities opened for African American women changed what they could have been and made them what they are. The Anglo in America designed al leadership positions for the male and the wealthy. It has been said that the self-proclaimed ownership of leadership in America was justified by Biblical reasons.