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Black Feminist Thought
Ain’t I a Woman? ..."That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody helps me any best place. And aint I a woman?..."Look at me! Look at my arm. I have plowed, I have planted and I have gathered into barns. And no man could head me. And aint I a woman?" ..."I could work as much, and eat as much as man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And aint I a woman? I have borne children and seen most of them sold into slavery, and when I cried out with a mothers grief, none but Jesus heard me. And aint I a woman?" 1797 –1883
“Shall it any longer be said of the daughters of Africa, They have no ambition, they have no force? By no means. Let every female heart become united…..” Maria Stewart (1803 –1879)African American public speaker,abolitionist, and feminist
“The colored girl… is not known and hence notbelieved in; she belongs to a race that isdesignated by the term “problem,” and she livesbeneath the shadow of that problem whichenvelopes and obscures her.” Fannie Barrier Williams (1855 –1944) African American Educator and womens rights activist
Other Voices of the Past
The Dimensions of OppressionEconomic Dimension: The exploitation of Black women’s laboressential to U.S. capitalism – the “iron pots and kettles” symbolizingBlack women’s long-standing ghettoization in service occupations.Political Dimension: Forbidding Black women to vote, excludingfrom public office, and withholding equitable treatment in thecriminal justice system all substantiate the political subordinationof Black women.Ideological Dimension: Negative stereotypes applied to African-American women have been fundamental to Black women’soppression.
The Development of Black Feminist Thought Discovering, Reinterpreting, & Analyzing the works of individual U.S. Black women thinkers (locating unrecognized and unheralded works, scattered and long out of print) Discovering, Reinterpreting, & Analyzing the ideas of subgroups within the larger collectivity of U.S. Black women who have been silenced Reinterpreting existing works through new theoretical frameworks Searching for its expression in alternative institutional locations and among women who are not commonly perceived as intellectuals (the concept of intellectual must be deconstructed) Collaboration leadership among those who participate in the diverse forms that Black women’s communities now take.
Why U.S. Black Feminist ThoughtBlack women’s subordination within Intersecting oppressions of race, class, gender,sexuality and nation.Diverse responses to common challenges with Black feminism: No homogenousBlack woman’s standpoint exist. Many factors explain diverse responses (social classdifferences, sexuality signals, and varying ethnic and citizenship statuses.Black feminism occurs through an ongoing dialogue whereby actions and thoughtinform one another .Black feminist intellectuals are central to Black feminist thought: Black feministscholars in studying oppression among black women are less likely to walk awaywhen the obstacles seem overwhelming or when he rewards for staying diminish.Black feminism is dynamic and changing: The changing social conditions thatconfront African-American women stimulate the need for new Black feministanalyses of the common differences that characterize U.S Black womanhood.Black feminism is part of a wider struggle for human dignity, empowerment, andsocial justice.
And so our mothers andgrandmothers have, more oftenthan not anonymously, handed onthe creative spark, the seed of theflower they themselves neverhoped to see - or like a sealedletter they could not plainly read. Alice Walker Author, Poet
Look at the Stars Shawna R. Kimbrell Michelle Obama Oprah Winfrey Maya Angelou Toni Morrison Richest African American Writer First Black Woman First Lady Nobel Prize in Literature in the 20th Century Presidential Medal of Freedom Fighter PilotAretha Franklin Condoleezza Rice Halle Berry Dr. Mae Jemison Serena Williams World No. 1 Woman Tennis PlayerQueen of Soul First African-American woman First Black Woman to First Black Woman (July, 2002) Secretary of State win the Oscar Astronaut
Current Day Voices Barbara Smith Angela Davis Toni Morrison Patricia Hill Collins Lesbian Feminist Political Activist Novelist, Editor, Professor Feminist AuthorRev. Dr. Katie G. Cannon Michele WallaceFirst African-American woman Bell Hooks Alice Walker Feminist Authorordained in the United Social Activist Author, PoetPresbyterian Church
Jump at the Sun Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to jump at the sun. We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground. - Zora Neale Hurston