She Can Bring Us Home: Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, Civil Rights Pioneer

Time Period
1925 to Today
Media Type
Black History
Civil Rights
Science & Technology
Women's History
Diane Kiesel

On August 20, 2015, Diane Kiesel delivered a Banner Lecture entitled "She Can Bring Us Home: Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, Civil Rights Pioneer."

At a time when blacks faced Jim Crow segregation, menial employment opportunities, and lynch mobs, Dorothy Ferebee, a native of Norfolk, was sought after to advise presidents and Congress on civil rights matters and to assist foreign governments on public health issues. She ran one of the nation’s most influential civil rights’ organizations—the National Council of Negro Women—during the nascent racial equality movement and led one of history’s most famous public health efforts—the Mississippi Health Project—in the Deep South during the Great Depression. Dr. Ferebee was a household name in black America for forty years. In her day, she was the media darling of the then thriving African American press. Ironically, her fame faded and her relevance waned as blacks achieved the professional and political power for which she so vigorously fought.

This is the first full-scale biography of this significant but relatively unknown black leader. Judge Diane Kiesel—a former reporter in the Washington, D.C., bureau of Copley Newspapers; prosecutor in the Office of the New York County District Attorney; and adjunct professor of law at New York Law School—is an Acting Supreme Court Justice on the New York state trial court. She is the author of Domestic Violence: Law, Policy, and Practice and She Can Bring Us Home: Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, Civil Rights Pioneer.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

Want to listen to an audio-only version of this lecture? Listen now on Soundcloud.