Kathryn Everly: 0000-0001-9757-805X

Document Type



Spring 3-30-2022


Salaria Kea, Spanish Civil War, Intersectionality, Abraham Lincoln Brigades, African Americans in Spain




Syracuse University Humanities Center


Many thanks to the Syracuse University Humanities Center for a Faculty Fellowship spring 2020, to the helpful and knowledgeable staff at the Tamiment Library Special Collections, and to my research assistant, Lucas Gascón, for his patience and insight.


African History | Communication | European Languages and Societies | Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature | Women's History | Women's Studies


Salaria Kea was the only African American woman to serve with the American Medical Unit during the Spanish Civil War. Her experience has been silenced and edited within the archive by traditionally more authoritative voices. Reconsidering the impact of intersectionality on personal experience can lead to a better understanding of Black U.S. participation in voluntary war efforts as well as to a decentering of the predominant euro-centric versions of the war in Spain and of history in general. The impetus of many African Americans to join the fight against fascism in Spain stemmed directly from the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, and the Spanish war in 1936 symbolized racial freedom from fascist oppression for many Black volunteers. For many female nurses, the war in Spain was a chance to actively participate in anti-fascist politics and work side by side with men on the front lines. Through a close textual analysis of papers in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives housed at New York University’s Tamiment Library, this article examines the intersectional experience of Kea as a Black woman in Spain and uncovers the textual violence that has silenced her story in the archives.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.