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Ruth Sara Feldstein is an American historian with research interests in United States history, with focus on 20th-century culture and politics; women's and gender history; and African American history. Currently she is professor of history and American studies at Rutgers University.[1][2]


B.A. in Arts (1986) from the University of Pennsylvania[3] (magna cum laude[4]). M.A. in History (1989) from Brown University.[5] Ph.D. in History (1996) from Brown.[1]


Her book Motherhood in Black and White: Race and Sex in American Liberalism, 1930-1965 (Cornell, 2000) she traces the history if liberalism between the eras of the New Deal and Great Society, and argues that in its development central were conservative gender ideologies, which perpetuated the family stereotypes of bad mothering by domineering "black matriarchs" and bad white "moms".[1][6]

Her article about Nina Simone[7] earned her the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Prize, Best Article on Black Women’s History.[1]

Her book How It Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement (2013), won the Benjamin Hooks National Book Award and the International Association for Media History's Michael Nelson Prize,[2] in which she explores the influence of women entertainers (Lena Horne, Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson) on the civil rights and feminist movements.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b c d Profile: Ruth Feldstein Archived 2017-12-12 at the Wayback Machine at Rutgers
  2. ^ a b "Ruth Feldstein", speaker profile at the Organization of American Historians
  3. ^ University of Pensilvania archives (retrieved December 11, 2017)
  4. ^ "Ruth Feldstein and Asa Nixon Marry", The New York Times, August 20, 1990
  5. ^ Brown University, The Two Hundred and Twenty-First Commencement, Providence, Rhode Island, May 29, 1989
  6. ^ "Publisher's review of Motherhood in Black and White"
  7. ^ Ruth Feldstein, “’I Don’t Trust You Anymore’; Nina Simone, Culture, and Black Activism in the 1960s,” Journal of American History 87, no. 4 (2005): 1365
  8. ^ "his Author Is Redefining Feminism in the Civil Rights Movement", by Lauren Byrnes, April 2, 2014
  9. ^ "Harnessing Celebrity to Civil Rights Cause - ‘How It Feels to Be Free’ Salutes Black Female Entertainers", The New York Times, January 15, 2014