PI: Jatia Wrighten, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University
Grant Amount and Grant Fund: $1,406, Edward Artinian Fund for Publishing
Project Abstract: The goal of this book is to examine the legislative behavior of Black women through a novel intersectional framework, the heavy lifter theory. The heavy lifter theory explains as to why and how Black women differ from both White women and Black men and offers insight to better understand Black women’s political behavior. Black women are continually increasing their representation in U.S. legislative institutions, specifically state legislatures. This research presents a historical context by which to understand and examine the gendered nature of the ascription process of Black women. Specifically, their experience as a marginalized group burdened them with the duty of the heavy lifter. Although being the heavy lifter is a burden, this focus on Black women’s ability to thrive under constant discrimination in the form of racism and sexism should give scholars pause. In looking at Black women legislators’ ability to gain leadership, the heavy lifter identity can potentially be a vehicle through which these Black women legislators can find a sense of purpose and psychological and social strength to forge a path that might not have been expected for them.