Campus News

Authors will discuss ‘double lives’ of African-American women in society

Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden, authors of the book Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America, will deliver the university’s fifth annual Mary Frances Early Lecture on March 29 at 7 p.m. in room 213 of Sanford Hall.

This year’s lecture will focus on the identity of African-American women in today’s society and is sponsored in part by Graduate and Professional Scholars at UGA. It is free and open to the public and a reception will follow.

The lecture is named in honor of the first African-American graduate of UGA, Mary Frances Early, who earned a master of music education in 1962. She currently is chairperson of the music department and a professor of music at Clark Atlanta University. Early played an integral role in the desegregation of UGA. Valerie White and Tracey Ford, two former GAPS members, established the Early Lecture in 1999.

Jones and Shorter-Gooden have toured the country together presenting their work at seminars and conferences. Their book is based on the African-American Women’s Voices Project. According to the authors’ Web site (, Shifting reveals that a large number of African-American women feel pressure to compromise their true selves as they navigate America’s racial and gender bigotry.

“They shift ‘white’ as they head to work in the morning and ‘black’ as they travel back home each night,” they say. “They shift inward, internalizing the searing pain of negative stereotypes they encounter daily. Sometimes they shift outward by fighting back.”

Jones, a resident of New Jersey, is an award-winning journalist who is currently a New York correspondent for USA Today. She is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times and is a contributing writer for Essence magazine. While at the Los Angeles Times, she co-wrote one of 10 articles that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the L.A. riots.

A resident of Southern California, Shorter-Gooden is a professor and ­coordinator of the multicultural ­community/clinical psychology emphasis area at the California School of Professional Psychology (Los Angeles campus) of Alliant International University. Her research and publications have been in the area of identity development and psychotherapy with African Americans. She is also a consulting editor for Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. A licensed psychologist, she has a psychotherapy and organizational consultation practice.

GAPS was founded in 1984 to support underrepresented graduate and professional students at UGA.