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Black Women's Health Imperative Records, 1983-2006 (ongoing)
11 boxes (11 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 487

Abstract:
Women of color, reproductive rights, and women's health advocacy organization. The records consist of materials pertaining to the administration and the public outreach work of the BWHI, including board of directors files reports, correspondence, conference materials, photograph albums, memorabilia, and audiovisual materials. There is a large amount of promotional and educational materials produced by BWNHP including pamphlets, posters, brochures, fact sheets, newsletters, self-help manuals, and videos. There is also a small amount of material pertaining to Byllye Avery as founder of BWHI. [NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.
  • Original audiovisual materials and master copies are closed. Research copies are available.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to most of the unpublished works created by the BWHI in this collection. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

The Black Women's Health Imperative, originally called the Black Women's Health Project (BWHP), then the National Black Women's Health Project (NBWHP), was established by Byllye Avery in 1981 as a program of the National Women's Health Network in Atlanta, GA. At the first National Conference on Black Women's Health Issues, held at Spelman College in 1983, the BWHP became an independent national organization. Its purpose was to develop and disseminate self-help methodologies, including "group psychosocial therapy techniques..to empower Black women to attain healthy living and overall physical, mental and spiritual wellness." In 1984, having been incorporated and renamed the National Black Women's Health Project, the organization purchased a national headquarters in Atlanta, affectionately known as The Mother House. One of the NBWHP's first initiatives was to begin holding quarterly task force meetings to gather information about and to develop a cohesive perspective on black women's health issues. Another primary facet of the organization's work has consistently involved networking and collaborating with black women in other countries on health issues (Africa, South America, the West Indies, as well as the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China and the Beijing + 5 NGO Host Committee). The organization has produced and published numerous films, videotapes and books pertaining to Black women's health issues.

Key projects, some of them ongoing, include implementation and promotion of a national fitness program, Walking for Wellness (1992); the Domestic Violence Initiative (1995); development and implementation of substance abuse education and prevention programs on eight "historically black" college and university campuses (1996); REACH 2010, a study of intervention strategies to reduce cardiovascular risk among Black church women in New Orleans, LA (2000); development of the Black Women's Wellness Study, a weight management pilot program undertaken in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania (2001); Because I am a Queen, a national television campaign and online smoking prevention and cessation program directed to Black women (2002); and Take Your Loved One to the Doctor Day, a national multimedia campaign to promote gynecological visits, also directed specifically to Black women, undertaken in partnership with the USDHHS (2002). In 2003, the organization was instrumental in convening the National Colloquium on Black Women's Health, "to generate a national sense of urgency to address the unequal burden of health issues borne by Black women." In 2003, the organization changed its name to the Black Women's Health Imperative.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The records consist of materials pertaining to the administration and the public outreach work of the BWHI, including board of directors files reports, correspondence, conference materials, photograph albums, memorabilia, and audiovisual materials. There is a large amount of promotional and educational materials produced by BWNHP including pamphlets, posters, brochures, fact sheets, newsletters, self-help manuals, and videos. There is also a small amount of material pertaining to Byllye Avery as founder of BWHI.

[NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.
  • Original audiovisual materials and master copies are closed. Research copies are available.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to most of the unpublished works created by the BWHI in this collection. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Black Women's Health Imperative Records, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

Additional Formats

Original VHS videos have been digitized and are available for viewing online (Smith campus only).

History of the Collection

The Black Women's Health Imperative began donating their records to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2003. Periodic additions to the collection are expected.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Processing Information

Accessioned by Burd Schlessinger, 2003


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English


Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • African American women -- Health and hygiene -- History -- Sources
  • African American women -- Medical care -- History -- Sources
  • African American women -- Mental health
  • African American women -- Social conditions -- History -- Sources
  • African American women health reformers -- History -- Sources
  • Black Women's Health Imperative
  • Health care reform -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • Health education of women -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • National Black Women's Health Project
  • Public health -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • Reproductive health -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • Reproductive rights -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • Women -- Health and hygiene -- Africa -- History -- Sources
  • Women -- Health and hygiene -- Social aspects -- History -- Sources
  • Women's health services -- United States -- History -- Sources

Contributors
  • Avery, Byllye, 1937-


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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