Intersectional Silencing in the Archive: Salaria Kea and The Spanish Civil War

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHispanic Studies Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 30 2022


  • Spain
  • Spanish Civil War
  • Abraham Lincoln Bridgades
  • Black feminism
  • Archival materials


Dive into the research topics of 'Intersectional Silencing in the Archive: Salaria Kea and The Spanish Civil War'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this