5 Black Feminists Everyone Should Know

By: Maggie McMorrow

As February is a month that celebrates Black History, I thought it would be only appropriate for DOTG to celebrate some amazing black feminists that everyone should know.

1) Audre Lorde

She is a self proclaimed, “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” She dedicated her life and talent as a poet to talking about and fighting for issues of race, gender, and homophobia. She wrote poetry that addressed all of theses issues and talked about society’s tendency to catergorize and marginalized both women and minorities. She empowered all of her readers to confront these types of issues in their own lives and to stand up for what the believed in no matter what the circumstances. In the 1980s she and Barbara Smith wrote a book called “Kitchen Table: Women of the Color Press,” a book compiled to further the writings of black feminists.

2) Frances Beal

Born to an African American father and a Jewish mother, Beal struggled with both racism and anti-semitism through her life, which she dedicated to being an activist for both womens and race rights. Beal organized, wrote, and spoke about issues facing black feminists. Beal was a founding member of the Black Women’s Liberation Committee which focused on finding compensation for black women and the racial and gender injustices facing them.

3) Toni Cade Bambara

Bambara was a writer, activist, feminist, and filmmaker who published an assortment of poems based on the unrestful atmosphere during the civil rights movement published into a book, “The Black Woman: An anthology.” She was also an important power in the Black Arts movement and was the first black woman to publish a book composed entirely of black feminist authors, including Audre Lorde.

4) Alice Walker

One of the most celebrated authors to come out of the civil rights movement, Walker is most famous for her book, “The Color Purple.” Her famous essay, “In search of our Mothers,” was a reaction to mainstream feminism and how it does not take into account the perspectives of black women, in this essay she coined the term ‘womanist.’

5) Patricia Hill Collins

Collins is best known for her book, “Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment.” In which she outlined black American feminism expressed through art, music, poetry, and writing. She uses the experiences of other black women to expose the “concepts that have been obscured institutionally, philosophically, and ideologically.”

All of these women are a reminder of how important it is to remember history and to make feminism an all inclusive movement.


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