Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource
Center (1981) and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College.
For many years she was a visiting professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s
Studies where she taught graduate courses in Women’s Studies. At the age of sixteen,
she entered Spelman College where she majored in English and minored in secondary
education. After graduating with honors, she attended Wellesley College for a fifth year
of study in English. In 1968, she entered Atlanta to pursue a master’s degree in English;
her thesis was entitled, “Faulkner’s Treatment of Women in His Major Novels.” A year
later she began her first teaching job in the Department of English at Alabama State
University in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1971 she returned to her alma mater Spelman
College and joined the English Department.

She has published a number of texts within African American and Women’s Studies
which have been noted as seminal works by other scholars, including the first anthology
on Black women’s literature, Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Women in
Literature (Doubleday, 1980), which she coedited with Roseann P. Bell and Bettye
Parker Smith; her dissertation, Daughters of Sorrow: Attitudes Toward Black Women,
1880-1920 (Carlson, 1991); Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist
Thought (New Press, 1995); an anthology she co-edited with Rudolph Byrd entitled
Traps: African American Men on Gender and Sexuality (Indiana University Press,
2001); a book coauthored with Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Gender Talk: The Struggle for
Women’s Equality in African American Communities (Random House, 2003); an
anthology, I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde, co-
edited with Rudolph P. Bryd, Johnnetta B. Cole, and Guy-Sheftall (Oxford University
Press, 2009); an anthology, Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies
(Feminist Press, 2010), with Stanlie James and Frances Smith Foster. Her most recent
publication (SUNY Press, 2010) is an anthology co-edited with Johnnetta B. Cole, Who
Should Be First: Feminists Speak Out on the 2008 Presidential Campaign. In 1983 she
became founding co-editor of Sage: A Scholarly Journal of Black Women which was
devoted exclusively to the experiences of women of African descent. She is the past
president of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and was elected to the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.