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Abstract

Women within and outside the YWCA have been able to move this organization to confront its own racism. Although the strategies and goals for this endeavor took several decades to work out, the organization moved more quickly than other similar institutions. One reason for this movement was the power of women speaking out in an institution that encouraged them to make connections between their faith and their daily lives. Their strategy was a profound commitment to connecting talk and action. They constantly set a context for and educated others to see connections between YWCA rhetoric, ideals, and practices.

The article considers this effort through the lens of Boston over a period of forty years and the life of Lucy Miller Mitchell, the first woman of color to be elected to the Boston YWCA board. It explores the work of women in the national, student, and city associations who felt compelled to speak for a more diverse and just YWCA.

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