History[ edit ] Activist and cultural critic Angela Davis was one of the first people to articulate a written argument centered on intersectionality , in Women, Race, and Class. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. May Learn how and when to remove this template message Beginning in the post slavery period, black female intellectuals that included Frances Ellen Watkins Harper set in motion the principles that would become the basis for black feminism.
Harper's ideas, although not necessarily well known, were the beginning of black feminism. Activists, such as Harper, proposed "some of the most important questions of race, gender, and the work of Reconstruction in the nineteenth century", a very bold action for a black woman at the time. Suffrage was early evidence of schisms between white and black feminism. According to Harper, white women needed suffrage for education; however, "black women need the vote, not as a form of education, but as a form of protection".
The right to vote would not only bring these women closer to the power that men had, it would give black women an influence on the politics which oppressed them. Aspects of the work of early leaders such as Harper laid down the basis for black feminism, as these principles would continue to be retained by later iterations and evolutions of black feminism.
Another extremely influential feminist in the African American culture was Katherine Ferguson. She pioneered the frist Sunday school which is not only a large accomplishment for a woman, but an incredible feat for an African American women.
Katherine was separated from her mother at a young age because of slavery. Thankfully, as she grew older, slavery dwindled, and she was able to grow up to be a strong, independent feminist who was raised on religious texts. Throughout her life she encouraged many young women to join the lord's teachings and inspired them to be strong and powerful individuals.
She was incredibly vital in the feminist movement because she pushed through boundaries and established herself without violence. She also overcame slavery repurcussions and fought through diversity with an incredible drive. Although they did not all identify as feminists, their theorizing included important works that are the foundation for theories of intersectionality —integrating race, gender, and class. In , for example, Esther V. Cooper married name Esther Cooper Jackson , for example, wrote a M.
In , Taylor was the victim of a gang rape; Parks and Cooper attempted to bring the culprits to justice. Defenders of Ingram included the famous black feminist Mary Church Terrell , who was an octogenarian at the time.
A Journal of Female Liberation. But we do have females' oppression in common. This means that we can begin to talk to other women with this common factor and start building links with them and thereby build and transform the revolutionary force we are now beginning to amass. According to the paper, women in SNCC did not have a chance to become the face of the organization, the top leaders, because they were assigned to clerical and housekeeping duties, whereas men were involved in decision-making.
By the later half of the s, more women were in charge of SNCC projects than during the first half. Ideals were shared, such as a "critique on racial capitalism, starting with slavery". Despite this, black feminism had reasons to become independent of Black Nationalism.
Black feminism had been cast "as a negotiation of the sexism and masculinism and sometimes heterosexism of Black Nationalism". Some black women felt alienated by the main planks of the second-wave feminist movement.
For example, earning the power to work outside the home was not seen as an accomplishment by black women. Many black women had to work both inside and outside the home for generations due to poverty.
These women "tried to show the connections between racism and male dominance" in society. It retained historical principles, while being influenced by new thinkers such as Alice Walker. Walker created a whole new subsect of black feminism, called Womanism , which emphasized the degree of the oppression black women faced when compared to white women.
In addition, she stressed the importance of heritage in black feminism through the medium of literature, exemplified by a interview. Black lesbian feminism[ edit ] Black lesbian feminism is a political identity and movement that incorporates perspectives, experiences, and politics around race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.
Hence, this form of lesbian feminism emphasizes its focus on expanding lesbian feminism to incorporate solidarity. Lesbian feminism created a radical agenda focused on challenging homophobia; finding a place in feminism; and, for some, separatist notions.
Additionally, some lesbian feminists were involved in black power movements , and vocalized the need for the inclusion of people of color. However, these perspectives on race and sexuality were not accepted by the mainstream, lesbian feminism; and, black lesbian feminists felt excluded from this movement. Several black lesbian feminists confronted a group of white, lesbian feminists about their racially, exclusive agenda.
Following this event, several groups began to include and organize around black lesbian politics. For example, in the National Black Feminist Organization was founded and included lesbian agenda. Fighting Oppression and Building Unity.
A Legacy to be Transformed". It featured plenary sessions, "Sexual Harassment: Race, Gender and Power" and was held in a much larger theater that year. Black women were a central focus and not an aside as they were prior. Third wave feminism claimed the need for more intersectionality in feminist activism and the inclusion of black and other ethnic minority women. Moreover, the advancement of technology has fostered the development of a new digital feminism.
This online activism involves the use of " Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , YouTube , Tumblr , and other forms of social media to discuss gender equality and social justice. According to NOW Toronto, the internet has created a "call-out" culture, in which sexism or misogyny can be called out and challenged immediately with relative ease.
As more and more influential figures began to identify themselves as feminist, social media saw a rise in young black feminists willing to "push the conversation forward" and bring racist and sexist situations to light.
For example, the and Victoria's Secret Fashion Shows were commended for letting four black models wear their natural hair on the runway.
Black feminists on social media celebrated the embrace of the Natural hair movement using the hashtags melanin and blackgirlmagic. For example, a Vogue Italia photo shoot involving model Gigi Hadid wearing an afro sparked some backlash on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Some users claimed it was problematic and racist to have a non-black model wear an afro and a fake tan to give the appearance of blackness when the fashion magazine could have hired a black model instead. According to a study by the University of Southern California, of the top films of that year "nearly three-quarters of all characters were white," NPR reports, and only 17 of those top movies featured non-white lead or co-lead actors.
Of course, that number is even lower if you just look at non-white women leads, considering only one-third of speaking roles were for women , according to the same study. However, that excuse is consistently debunked when films centered around black characters fare quite well globally, including, but not limited to, the film, The Help film , and the film, Hidden Figures. Both films had multiple black women in lead roles, were lasting box office successes, and were nominated for multiple Academy Awards.
Additionally, the idea that minority lead characters do not sell movies fails to acknowledge the fact that movies centered around white characters are just as able to do poorly. The wage gap for black women in the entertainment industry is a symptom of a larger issue: Black Feminists need to make progress in their movement by creating a media platform to help advocate their voices and to inspire others.
This has been viewed as a Black Feminist Movement first, rather than as a part of the larger feminist movement. Black liberation movements in this country have created room, space, and leadership mostly for Black heterosexual, cisgender men—leaving women, queer and transgender people, and others either out of the movement or in the background to move the work forward with little or no recognition.
As a network, we have always recognized the need to center the leadership of women and queer and trans people n. Tucker believes that identity politics serves as a foundation where such color-blindness can finally be achieved in the long run if implemented and understood within society. Firstly, these women had to "prove to other black women that feminism was not only for white women". This organization of women focused on the interconnectedness of the many prejudices faced by African-American women, such as racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.
Their founding text referred to important female figures of the abolitionist movement, such as Sojourner Truth , Harriet Tubman , Frances E. Harper , Ida B. The Combahee River Collective opposed the practice of lesbian separatism , considering that, in practice, Separatists focused exclusively on sexist oppression and not on other oppressions race, class, etc. This group began meeting in Boston in , a time when socialist feminism was thriving in Boston. The name Combahee River Collective was suggested by the founder and African-American lesbian feminist, Barbara Smith , and refers to the campaign led by Harriet Tubman who freed slaves near the Combahee River in South Carolina in Smith said they wanted the name to mean something to African-American women, and that "it was a way of talking about ourselves being on a continuum of black struggle, of black women's struggle".
The members of this organization consisted of many former members of other political organizations that worked within the civil rights movement, anti-war movement, labor movement, and others. Demita Frazier, co-founder of the Combahee River Collective says these women from other movements found themselves "in conflict with the lack of a feminist analysis and in many cases were left feeling divided against [themselves]. They also held retreats throughout the Northeast from to to help "institutionalize black feminism" and develop an "ideological separation from white feminism".
Co-signed by Gayle Lynch, Eleanor Holmes Norton , Maxine Williams, Frances M Beale and Linda La Rue, the manifesto , opposing both racism and capitalism , stated that "the black woman is demanding a new set of female definitions and a recognition of herself of a citizen, companion and confidant, not a matriarchal villain or a step stool baby-maker.
Role integration advocates the complementary recognition of man and woman, not the competitive recognition of same. In this short story, an emphasis is also put on the lack of education available for black women at that time, further elaborating the oppression and plight of black women throughout history. Conditions 5 was "the first widely distributed collection of Black feminist writing in the U.
Women of Color Press , a publishing imprint owned and operated by women of color.