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Four Black Women Activists and the Power of Resilience: Coretta Scott King, Ruby Sales, Patrice Khan Cullors, and Angela Davis


Abstract for Online Program Book (maximum 1200 characters including spaces)

This paper offers an interfaith and philosophical study of spiritual resilience in the lives of four black women activists by examining their responses to state-condoned violence in struggles for freedom: Coretta Scott King and Rev. Dr. Ruby Sales, of two Christian generations; Ifa practitioner Patrisse Khan Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement; and Dr. Angela Davis, a black feminist theorist and philosopher of economics. Influenced by Katie Cannon’s womanist virtue ethics and method of referencing “black women’s real lived experience,” the paper elucidates the power of resilience as: 1) “real-lived eschatology” in reference to King and Sales; 2) a cosmological power of “stardust” in the ancestors and all beings for Patrisse Khan Cullors; and 3) the power of resilience as seeing “freedom as a constant struggle” in the life of black feminist theorist Angela Davis. Davis, like Cannon, offers a philosophy of economics for survival in response to overlapping systems of oppression that helps undergird a womanist ethics of resilience.