From the early days of the Civil Rights movement, African American women have worked and served in numerous and influential leadership roles. What are their experiences and what changes have taken place in their opportunities, expectations, responsibilities, and obstacles?  For the eighth annual McGowan Forum on Women in Leadership, a distinguished panel discussed their personal journeys and advice they would offer to young women in the struggle for equality.

Moderated by Melissa V. Harris-Perry, host on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, and author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, panelists included Janai Nelson, Associate Director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Joyce Ladner, sociologist and civil rights activist; Avis Jones De-Weever, Exceptional Leadership Strategist and immediate past Executive Director of the National Council of Negro Women; and Charlene A. Carruthers, national director of the Black Youth Project 100.

Janai Nelson:

“Brown v. Board wasn’t just a case. It was a strategy. Not just to desegregate schools, but to desegregate communities. And you always need to revisit your strategies. You need to reignite your imagination about what is possible.”