Skip to content

At noon on Wednesday, September 27, as part of the department's History Is Lunch series, Diane Kiesel will discuss her book She Can Bring Us Home: Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, Civil Rights Pioneer.

An African American obstetrician and civil rights activist from Washington DC, Dorothy Ferebee (1898–1980) was descended from lawyers, journalists, politicians, and a judge. At a time when African Americans faced Jim Crow segregation, desperate poverty, and lynch mobs, she advised presidents on civil rights and assisted foreign governments on public health issues. Though articulate, visionary, talented, and skillful at managing her publicity, she was also tragically flawed.

Ferebee was president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha black service sorority and later became the president of the powerful National Council of Negro Women in the nascent civil rights era. She stood up to gun-toting plantation owners to bring health care to sharecroppers through her Mississippi Health Project during the Great Depression.

A household name in black America for forty years, Ferebee was also the media darling of the thriving black press. Ironically, her fame and relevance faded as African Americans achieved the political power for which she had fought. In She Can Bring Us Home, Diane Kiesel tells Ferebee’s extraordinary story of struggle and personal sacrifice to a new generation.

Ellen Feldman, author of Scottsboro, wrote of the book: “Dorothy Ferebee—ground-breaking physician, civil rights champion, feminist advocate—was a legend in her own time but is largely unknown in ours. Now Diane Kiesel brings alive this extraordinary woman whose private life was as tortured and heartbreaking as her public persona was exemplary and heroic.”

Diane Kiesel is an acting justice of the New York State Supreme Court. She presides in the Bronx County Criminal Term. A former journalist, she is a winner of the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism. She lives in New York City.

The program will take place in the William F. Winter Building, located at 200 North Street, Jackson, MS 39201. There is no charge to attend. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email


October 4—Archaeologist Corin Pursell will present "The Collapse and Excavation of Winterville's Great Mound." WFW

History Is Lunch programs take place in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building (WFW), 200 North Street, Jackson, MS 39201, or the Old Capitol Museum (OCM), 100 South State Street, Jackson, MS 39201.

View All News Releases