Christina Greene

Position title: Resident Fellow (2015-2016)

Afro-American Studies, UW-Madison

Portrait image of Christina Greene

She Ain’t No Rosa Parks: Feminism, Black Power and Mass Incarceration Politics in the 1970s Free Joan Little Campaign

In 1974, Joan Little, a young, impoverished Black woman, fatally stabbed her white male jailer after he sexually assaulted her in a North Carolina jail. If convicted, she would face a mandatory death sentence. The case quickly became a national and even international cause célèbre, attracting a wide array of Black Power, civil rights, feminist and prisoner rights activists. Based on archival research as well as recent interviews with both Joan Little and her attorneys, I use the rape-murder case, the Free Joan Little campaign, and Joan Little’s story to probe larger questions surrounding the history of African American women, 1970s social movements and mass incarceration politics.

Christina Greene is an Associate Professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies, UW-Madison. She is the author of the award-winning book, Our Separate Ways: Women and the Black Freedom Movement in Durham, North Carolina, 1940-1970 (University of North Carolina Press, 2005). She has been published in Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Feminist Studies, Journal of Southern History, and Journal of African American History. She has also been published in several edited collections: Hidden Histories of Women in the New South (1994); From the Grass Roots to the Supreme Court: Brown v. Board of Education and American Democracy (2004); and The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964-1980 (2011). Greene is also a contributor to Civil Rights in the United States (2000) and Oxford Research Encyclopedia in American History (forthcoming), and a contributor and subject editor for African American National Biography (2008). She is currently working on a book-length monograph of the 1970s Free Joan Little Rape-Murder Campaign.