Scope and Contents
The Marsha Houston papers document Houston’s career as a pioneering Black feminist communication scholar specializing in social justice, gender, race, culture, and African American women’s communication. The papers include articles, journals, unpublished manuscripts, conference papers, speeches, correspondence, clippings, ephemera, syllabi, and vitae. The collection also contains audiovisual material, photographs, and a signed poster from the Difficult Dialogues Conference in 1990.
- Creation: 1977-2012
- Houston, Marsha (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.
Conditions Governing Technical Access
Collection includes sound recordings and moving images to which access is restricted. Access to these materials is governed by repository policy and may require the production of listening or viewing copies. Researchers requiring access must notify Special Collections and University Archives in advance and pay fees for reproduction services as necessary.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.
Biographical / Historical
Dr. Marsha Houston is a pioneering Black feminist communication scholar who specializes in the areas of social justice, gender, race, culture, and African American women’s communication.
Born November 29, 1945, in Greensboro, North Carolina, Houston grew up in the segregated South of the 1950s and 1960s. Observing those around her, particularly her mother and sisters, Houston became fascinated by the intricacies of personal relationships and African American relational strategies. She graduated from James B. Dudley High School in 1964. She majored in English at Emory University, where she was one of the first seven African American undergraduate women students to enroll at Emory College and was a founding member of the Emory Black Student Alliance. Houston earned a Master of Arts in dramatic art with concentrations in theatre history and literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973. She earned a Ph.D. in communication studies with concentrations in interpersonal communication and rhetoric from the University of Massachusetts in 1983.
Houston taught at Clark College from 1972-1976, Western New England College from 1977-1980, the University of Southern Mississippi from 1982-1985, and Spelman College from 1985-1987, where she was the director of the communication studies program. From 1987-1990, she was the chair of the communication department at Georgia State University. From 1990-1999, she was an associate professor at Tulane University, and beginning in 1994, served as the Nancy Reeves Dreux Chair in Women’s Studies. In 1999, she became professor and department chair of communication studies at the University of Alabama, where she taught until 2009.
Houston has taught courses on language and gender, communication of prejudice, African American womanhood, and interracial and intercultural communication. Her research focuses on the interpersonal communication patterns of Black women and the intersections of gender, race, and sociolinguistic behavior. Her work has received resistance from scholars who do not see the significance of studying Black women’s issues and experiences. Houston’s work has been instrumental in the inclusion of Black women’s perspectives in feminist theory and communication scholarship.
Houston has written and edited several books, chapters, and articles. She frequently presents her work at academic conferences. She helped organize and develop two conferences that resulted in significant contributions to African American communication scholarship: The Power of the Spoken Word: The Oratory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Conference and the Eighth National Conference on Research in Gender and Communication with the theme Difficult Dialogues: Gateways and Barriers to Women’s Communication Across Cultures.
Houston has been a member of a number of editorial boards and community outreach organizations. She is a founding member of both the Feminist and Women’s Studies Division and African American Communication and Culture Division of the National Communication Association and has served as chair of each unit. In addition to her scholarship and work in the classroom, Houston has mentored many African American woman scholars. She has received numerous honors, including two Distinguished Book Awards, the 1994 Francine Merritt Award from the National Communication Association, and the 2002 Southern States Communication Association Outreach Award.
Jackson, R. L., & Givens, S. M. (2006). Marsha Houston: (aka Marsha Houston Stanback). In Black pioneers in communication research (pp. 172-188). SAGE Publications, Inc., https://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452225692.n9
3.75 linear feet (4 containers) : 1 manuscript box, 1 half manuscript box, 1 oversize flat box (25” x 21” x 1.75”), 1 flat box (11” x 9” x 1.75”)
Language of Materials
Dr. Marsha Houston is a pioneering Black feminist communication scholar who specializes in the areas of social justice, gender, race, culture, and African American women’s communication. The papers include articles, journals, unpublished manuscripts, conference papers, speeches, correspondence, clippings, ephemera, syllabi, audiovisual material, photographs, and a signed poster.
This collection is arranged chronologically.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Marsha Houston, 2012.
Collection processed by Sarah Lueders, 2022.
- Guide to the Marsha Houston papers
- Complete Description
- Sarah Lueders
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid is written in English.