Spelman College, founded in 1881 in the basement of Atlanta, Georgia’s Friendship Baptist Church, is the oldest and best-known college for Black women in the world.1 Because of its historic commitment to the education of women, especially Black women, Spelman has been over the past decade and a half in the forefront of curriculum development in Women’s Studies on historically Black college campuses in the USA.2 Some of the most significant reforms in American higher education over the past three decades have come as a result of the Black Studies and Women’s Studies movements. Less well known but also important has been the development within the past decade of a new field of study-Black Women’s Studieswhich emerged in part because of the failure of Black and Women’s Studies to address adequately the unique experiences of Black women in the USA and throughout the world. In the first publication on this newly emerging discipline called Black Women’s Studies, the editors, all three of whom were Black Studies scholars, attempted to define the new concept, trace its development and provide a rationale for its existence:

Women’s studies courses…focused almost exclusively upon the lives of white women. Black studies, which was much too often maledominated, also ignored Black women…. Because of white women’s racism and Black men’s sexism, there was no room in either area for a serious consideration of the lives of Black women. And even when they have considered Black women, white women usually have not had the capacity to analyze racial politics and Black culture, and Black men have remained blind or resistant to the implications of sexual politics in Black women’s lives.3