Dr. Janet Dewart Bell Gives WMC Wettenstein Lecture on Women’s History

Dr. Janet Dewart Bell

Julie Burton

Release Date

Thursday, June 13, 2024


"Black Women Speak Freedom, Justice, and Democracy: Historical Perspectives"

That is the subject that Dr. Janet Dewart Bell will examine in a lecture to be premiered online on Juneteenth, Wednesday, June 19, at 12.0 pm.

A social justice activist with a doctorate in leadership and change from Antioch University, Dr. Janet Dewart Bell’s lecture will be inspired by her latest book, Blackbirds Singing, which champions speeches by Black women from the civil war to the twenty-first century and Lighting the Fires of Freedom, African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement, conversations with nine leaders of the civil rights movement.

Following her lecture, Dr. Dewart Bell will explore the historical impact of Black women leaders on society today with Dr. Koritha Mitchell. Professor Mitchell is a literary historian, award-winning author, and cultural critic.

This lecture is the second in a lecture series named for Beverly Wettenstein, who bequeathed the funding for the series to the Women’s Media Center. Wettenstein, who passed away in 2019, was a renowned journalist, speaker, media critic and historian. She chronicled the representation of women in national media outlets and was the founder of the “Women in History and Making History Today – 365-Days-A-Year - Database.” She also served as a public affairs executive with several global banks, as well as Semester at Sea. She wrote the “HerStory” column in the Dallas Morning News.

Wettenstein’s dedication to women’s history and journalism led her to leave a gift to the Women’s Media Center for a series featuring an annual lecture on women’s history and media, according to Julie Burton, President and CEO of the Women’s Media Center. “We are proud that she was part of our Women’s Media Center community and a member of WMC SheSource, our braintrust of diverse women experts that we promote to media. The Women’s Media Center will publish this year’s lecture on our website, womensmediacenter.com, and distribute it through our newsletter WMC News.”

The Women’s Media Center, co-founded by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Robin Morgan, is an inclusive and feminist organization that works to raise the visibility, viability, and decision-making power of women and girls in media to ensure that their stories get told and their voices heard, according to Burton. “We do this by researching and monitoring media, creating and modeling original online and on-air content, training women to be effective in media, and promoting women experts in the field,” she said.

“We chose Juneteenth as the day to premiere Dr. Janet Dewart Bell’s lecture honoring the historical impact of narratives by Black women leaders to highlight the national celebration of African American resilience, achievement, and racial advancement,” Burton continued.

Introductory remarks will be made by Erica González Martínez, vice chair of the Women’s Media Center Board and founding editor of IDAR/E channel at WMC.

Sign up to be sent the lecture link on Juneteenth here.

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