Yesterday I completed the chapter of my book on faculty wives that I have been working on for quite a while. I started the research last year and started writing it in July. Just like it is hard for a pitcher to close out innings it is hard for a writer to know when to stop writing. There is always more research to do and more books to read.
I decided it was finished because I can’t work on it any longer. I have covered the points I wanted to make so I am going to put it aside and start something new. After writing a first draft of something, you need to let it sit for a while.
The chapter is about African-American faculty wives and their clubs. Several of the women became very prominent in the black community; some like Margaret Washington had stature in the white community as well. Most faculty wives clubs, black or white, were primarily focused on their academic community. The service they provided was most often to the school itself.
The first generation of African-American faculty wives operated on a larger stage. They used their position and connections to make a difference in the community their school was located in as well as in national organizations such as the National Association of Colored Women.
I also looked at clubs that fit the more typical pattern of inward involvement with their school. The Howard University Faculty Wives Association primarily focused on the school, setting up a scholarship and loan fund. In their programming, however, they had a more global orientation, inviting the Haitian minister and his wife to an event as well as Mr. Francis Nwia- Kofi Nkrumah who later became the first president of Ghana.
The chapter started out one way and took a different focus after I had done more research. I learned a lot about both the writing process and African-American women and their history by doing this chapter.