Joyce A. Ladner
Sociologist Joyce A. Ladner
was born October 12, 1943, in Battles, Mississippi, and grew up
in Hattiesburg. She earned her B.A. at Tougaloo College in 1964
and her Ph.D. in 1968 at Washington University. She taught in colleges
in Illinois, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and Tanzania before
joining the faculty at Hunter College of the City University of
New York in 1973. Her research focuses largely on intergroup relations
and minority issues in America. Her first book, Tomorrows
Tomorrow: The Black Woman (1971), examines the forces that mold
the self-perceptions of thirty black adolescent girls from a poor
neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri. Despite potential obstacles
such as racism, the book highlights the positive forces in these
womens lives, such as community and family. In dispelling
the popular notion of low self-esteem among poor black women, Ladner
notes that most of the girls she interviewed “have the determination
to make something of themselves, and self-hatred is
Ladner followed that
book with Mixed Families: Adopting Across Racial Boundaries
in 1977, a study of transracial adoption, a trend which had become
popular in the late 1960s among white couples in part because of
a shortage of white babies for adoption and an abundance of minority
children. The trend was applauded at first as a key step toward
tearing down racial barriers, but a competing philosophy began to
emerge in the 1970s arguing that black children needed to grow up
in black families to develop a positive self-image and a strong
sense of identity. In an attempt to resolve the debate, Ladner interviewed
136 transracial adoptive families to see how they were coping with
the issues that arose. What she found was a mixed bag, with some
families agreeing that it would have been better for their black
child to have grown up in a black family, while other families found
the experience positive in fostering better understanding and appreciation
between the races.
Ladners other books include
The Ties That Bind: Timeless Values for African American Families
(1999 and The New Urban Leaders (2001). She has edited The
Death of White Sociology, a collection of essays, and co-edited
several other books.
Ladner served as interim president
of Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she also served
as Vice President of Academic Affairs and professor of sociology.
Named Washingtonian Magazines Washingtonian of the
Year in 1997 for her work in education, today she is a senior fellow
in the Governmental Studies program at the Brookings Institution.
posted April 2003)
Links & Info
- Tomorrows Tomorrow: The Black Woman. Garden City,
N.Y.: Doubleday, 1971.
- Mixed Families: Adopting Across Racial Boundaries. Garden
City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1977.
- (Co-author with Janet C. Quint and Judith S. Musick.) Lives
of Promise, Lives of Pain: Young Mothers After New Chance. New
York: Manpower, 1994.
- The Ties that Bind: Timeless Values for African American Families.
New York: Wiley, 1999.
- The New Urban Leaders. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institituion
- (Co-author with Theresa Foy DiGeronimo.) Launching Our Black
Children for Success: A Guide for Parents of Kids from Three to Eighteen.
New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.
Books edited by the author:
- (Editor.) The Death of White Sociology. (collection
of essays). New York: Random House, 1973.
- (Editor with Peter B. Edelman.) Adolescence and Poverty: Challenge
for the 1990s. Washington, D.C.: Center for National Policy
- (Co-editor with Segun Gbadegesin.) Selected Papers from the
Proceedings of the Conference on Ethics, Higher Education, and Social
Responsibility. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1997.
Articles and Interviews:
About the Author:
- Joyce A. Ladner.
Information about the author from the Brookings Institution.
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