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Our survival programs heightened the contradiction that existed between the black people and the government. Although women did not escape often illegal government harassment and violent reprisals, the attacks on Panther chapters and arrests of male party leaders did create opportunities for women to assume leadership. As a result, women headed BPP chapters in several cities.

When Identities Collide: Sexuality and Black Feminism – IL Humanities

Women also edited the party newspaper, the Black Panther , and their presence forced the party to grapple with gender issues. For example, in Oakland, Panther women organized collective approaches to child care and spurred an internal party dialogue around reproduction, parenting, and sexual freedom. Despite the presence and influence of women, the organization was sometimes guilty of flagrant sexism and misogyny. But he added that he had practiced raping black women first and blamed them for colluding with white men to emasculate black men. Still, while individual Panther men may not have eschewed sexist behavior altogether, the BPP was in the vanguard for its time in challenging conventional gender roles.

African American women also played major though rarely recognized roles in other Black Power organizations. Grassroots women were also the mainstay of the National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana, which brought twelve hundred black nationalists and black elected officials together to forge a national black political agenda. Indeed, Black Power women found various ways to address their concerns as women, and feminist scholars disagree about the extent to which sexism within the black freedom movement fueled black feminism.

The publication of The Black Woman , now a classic, showcased varied responses of African American women to the gender tensions within the black liberation movement.

Similarly, most Nation of Islam NOI women abided by the notion of gender complimentarity rather than equality. Among women activists, African Americans led the way, but white women and other women of color were allies, sometimes at great risk and sacrifice to themselves and their families. Contrary to popular perception, most of the early white women supporters were southerners. Both paid a price for their apostasy, becoming pariahs in their homeland, but they continued to support black activists and the civil rights movement throughout the s and s.

Perhaps the most maligned and persistent white southern radical was Anne Braden. Also born to a prominent white family in Alabama, Anne and her husband, Carl, faced subversion charges after selling their home to a black couple in Louisville, just days before the Brown decision. Carl was convicted and jailed on charges under a Kentucky sedition law before the courts finally declared state sedition laws unconstitutional.


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Like her friend Ella Baker, Anne Braden was an inspiring role model, especially for younger white women activists. Despite ongoing official harassment and marginalization, both Bradens worked tirelessly against white supremacy and economic exploitation, Anne until she died in They were beaten and jailed along with their black fellow activists, but they received more national press coverage than local black activists. Nor were northern whites immune from lethal violence. Detroit housewife Viola Liuzzo was killed by Klansmen during the march from Selma to Montgomery. However, the first whites in the early movement days were mostly southerners, and many faced violence as well as ostracism from families, friends, churches, and schools.

White women were not the only female allies of the black freedom movement. Women of color also joined with black women and men, often linking their own liberation struggles with those of African Americans. Some embraced Black Power politics. By the s, they had adopted a multicultural radical politics, rather than black separatism; from to , they headed a small interracial group, National Organization for an American Revolution.

In conclusion, despite recent scholarship on women in the civil rights and Black Power movements, there is still much left to uncover.

Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980 / Edition 1

Houck and David E. Local and state libraries and historical societies, as well as private colleges, universities, and community centers also house materials on women. Bell-Scott, Patricia. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Find this resource:. Berger, Dan. Biondi, Martha. The Black Revolution on Campus. Berkeley: University of California Press, Brooks, Meagan Parker. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, Estes, Steve. Feldstein, Ruth. New York: Oxford University Press, Ford, Tanisha C. Korstad, Robert R. Nelson, Alondra Nelson.

Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Valk, Anne M. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, Peter J. Peniel E. Norton, McKay, William P. How Long? Eric S. Dayo F. Steven F. Greene, Our Separate Ways.

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Martin Jr. Judson L. Jeffries, ed. Bettye Collier-Thomas and V. Rhonda Y. Charles E. Jones Baltimore: Black Classic Press, , — Jones and Judson L. Chicago police, working with the FBI, conducted several raids on Panther headquarters, leading to a shoot-out and the destruction of the Breakfast Program in one raid and, in another raid, the police shooting death of Panther leader Fred Hampton while he was asleep in his bed.

Angela Davis though not a Panther and Assata Shakur are undoubtedly the most well-known black women radicals targeted by police and the FBI. Beal theorized what later was termed intersectionality by feminist scholars, and her essay was widely anthologized in feminist publications.

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Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle , ed. See also Williams, From the Bullet to the Ballot , — All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Oxford Research Encyclopedias American History. Search within subject: Select Read More.


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    Living for the Revolution. Black Feminist Organizations, 1968–1980 – Kimberley Springer

    Sign in with your library card. Search within Movement Allies: White Women and Women of Color Among women activists, African Americans led the way, but white women and other women of color were allies, sometimes at great risk and sacrifice to themselves and their families. Primary Sources. Further Reading.

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