Nayzak Wali-Ali

“Ain’t I a Woman”: The Histories and Criminalization of Black Women Organizers within the UC System

This project investigates the histories and criminalization of Black women activists and organizers at predominately white public universities in California, specifically examining the University of California system. Through interviews and archival research, this project serves to illuminate the stories of Black feminism and radicalism within the UC system and providing context to Black women activism on these campuses. Additionally, the focus on the criminalization of Black women sheds light on the hypervisibility of Black feminine bodies in the eyes of the state and institution. While this research incorporates a broader critique of anti-Black structures within the UC system, the purpose of the project is to create spaces for Black women to record their histories and cement their contributions to Black liberation on their campuses. In acknowledging the racial and gendered hierarchy with activism on predominately white college campuses, Black women are often overlooked and undervalued in progressive movements that have transformed UC campuses. However, this project centralizes the experiences of Black women activists, while incorporating historical, archival, and media research to provide cohesive histories. Furthermore, I investigate the violative policies, procedures, and patterns of UC campuses that have counteracted the organizing efforts of Black women.