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Mack-Shelton, Kibibi Voloria C.

MACK-SHELTON, Kibibi Voloria C.

(Kibibi Voloria C. Mack)


Married second husband, 1999; children: four daughters. Education: University of Maryland Eastern Shore, B.A.; Northwestern University, M.A.; State University of New York at Binghamton, Ph.D. Hobbies and other interests: Reading and playing tennis.


Office—Ryland Hall 106, University of Richmond, 28 Westhampton Way, Richmond, VA 23173. Agent—c/o Author Mail, University of Tennessee Press, 110 Conference Center Building, Knoxville, TN 37996-4108. E-mail—[email protected]


Educator and author. Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, professor of African and African-American history; University of Massachusetts at Boston, Boston, MA, professor, became acting chairperson of Africana Studies Department; University of Maryland at Baltimore County, Baltimore, professor of African Studies; University of Richmond, Richmond, VA, professor. Also taught at Tufts University and College of the Holy Cross.



(Editor) The African American Encyclopedia Supplement, Marshall Cavendish (North Bellmore, NY), 1997.

Parlor Ladies and Ebony Drudges: African American Women, Class, and Work in a South Carolina Community, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1999.

Also editor of the three-volume Racial and Ethnic Relations in America.


Love, Sex and Courtship in Early Twentieth-Century South Carolina: Life of Geraldine Pierce Zimmerman.


Kibibi Voloria C. Mack-Shelton has spent a significant portion of her life teaching courses that investigate the way African Americans relate to and are affected by a variety of subjects and situations, including education, affirmative action, media images, racism, segregation, family, and gender issues. Mack-Shelton's own education focused on the roles of African-American women, and her dissertation, which earned her the first Ph.D. in history awarded to an African-American woman at SUNY-Binghamton, examined class divisions and the work of African American women in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where she was raised. Mack-Shelton works to promote cross-cultural understanding as well as self-sufficiency within the African-American community, encouraging her students to support one another. Cindy Waugh, writing in the Retriever Weekly, asked Mack-Shelton what one thing she felt all African Americans should know, and Mack-Shelton replied that "they should know how blacks have historically helped each other versus competing against or hurting each other as is today. This behavior is a major divergence from traditional black culture."

With Parlor Ladies and Ebony Drudges: African American Women, Class, and Work in a South Carolina Community, Mack-Shelton explores how, during a period from 1880 to 1940, African-American women were divided by a strict class structure that prevented them from standing together within racial lines. Mack-Shelton based much of her research on oral interviews with the women of the community where she was raised, as well as their friends and family. The book describes how some upper-class African-American women considered themselves too elite to associate with the lesser groups, and how the middle class was conscious of being too close to slipping down a notch to the working class and therefore worked hard to maintain their social status. An African-American woman's role was greatly affected by her level of education, with most of the community's upper class linked in some way to the local universities, while the lowest class consisted of physical laborers, primarily field workers and laundresses. In a review for the AfriGeneas Books Web site, George Geder stated that Mack-Shelton's "research challenges the conventional thesis that all African-American women toiled." M. A. McEuen, in a review for Choice, remarked that Mack-Shelton's use of visual images such as recent staged photographs illustrating domestic work provided inadequate support to the text, but stated that the "book raises important questions about race, class, and gender relationships."



Choice, November 1999, M. A. McEuen, review of Parlor Ladies and Ebony Drudges: African American Women, Class, and Work in a South Carolina Community.

Retriever Weekly, November 7, 2000, Cindy Waugh, "Behind the Scenes: Kibibi Mack-Shelton, a Leader among Female African Americans Settles Down at UMBC."


AfriGeneas Books Web site, (July 20, 2004), George Geder, review of Parlor Ladies and Ebony Drudges.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County Web site, (July 20, 2004).

University of Richmond Web site, (July 20, 2004), "Dr. Kibibi V. Mack-Shelton."

University of Tennessee Press Web site, (July 20, 2004).

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