Women of Color in academia at UCLA. Image credit: Daniel G. Solórzano

The Untold Story of Los Angeles: Women of Color in Academia Life Histories Project

Daniel G. Solórzano, Education, UCLA

The empirical study represents an effort to record the experiences of senior Black, Asian and Pacific Islander, Native American, and Latina women in academia. As senior Women of Color in academia, they have been fundamentally responsible for the development of their respective fields, whether in the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, or professional schools including law and medicine. The Women of Color participants of this project were the first to enter their disciplines starting in the 1960s to present day. Their presence was integral to destabilizing the normalcy of whiteness. Documenting their life histories, as now senior or retired faculty, is an important goal of this project in order to preserve their narratives and learn from their experiences as a critical part of our intellectual history. The importance of this project is evidenced by the lack of documented history on Women and People of Color in academia. As we attempt to use education as means of redressing social inequities, numerical representation of Women of Color is not only important amongst student populations. Women of Color faculty have been imperative to Students of Color’s persistence and success in spaces that have yet to fully recognize their experiential reality. Women of Color faculty provide mirrors through which Students of Color may see themselves within the academy and mentor students that may follow similar paths. This research aims to fill the gap by exploring the intersectional lives of Women of Color in academia and challenge the unfortunate erasure of this group from history.