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Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism

bell hooks, South End Press, 1981

A groundbreaking work of feminist history and theory analyzing the complex relations between various forms of oppression. Ain’t I a Woman examines the impact of sexism on black women during slavery, the historic devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism within the recent women’s movement, and black women’s involvement with feminism.

Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment
2nd Ed., Patricia Hill Collins Routledge, 2000.
In spite of the double burden of racial and gender discrimination, African-American women have developed a rich intellectual tradition that is not widely known. In Black Feminist Thought, Collins explores the words and ideas of Black feminist intellectuals as well as those African-American women outside academe.


The Black Woman: An Anthology

Toni Cade Bambara, ed., Washington Square Press, 2005.

Originally published in 1970, includes essays, poems, and stories from a chorus of outspoken women–many who would become leaders in their fields, tackling issues surrounding race and sex, body image, the economy, politics, labor, and much more.


Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty
Dorothy Roberts, Vintage, 1998.
A response to the liberal and conservative retreat from an assertive, activist, and socially transformative civil rights agenda –using a black feminist lens and the issue of the impact of recent legislation, social policy, and welfare “reform” on black women’s–especially poor black women’s–control over their bodies’ autonomy and their freedom to bear and raise children with respect and dignity in a society whose white mainstream is determined to demonize, even criminalize their lives. Provides readers with a legal and historical argument.


killing rage: Ending Racism

bell hooks, Holt Paperbacks, 1996.


Twenty-three essays written from a black and feminist perspective, which tackle the bitter difficulties of racism by envisioning a world without it. They address a spectrum of topics having to do with race and racism in the United States: for example, psychological trauma among African Americans; friendship between black women and white women; anti-Semitism and racism; and internalized racism in movies and the media.


Race, Gender and Power in America: The Legacy of the Hill-Thomas Hearings
Anita Faye Hills and Emma Coleman Jordan, Eds., Oxford University Press, 1995.

These essays explore the volatile politics of race and gender, and the unique challenges faced by African-American women.


White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness
Ruth Frankenberg, University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Focuses on the particular experiences of white women in a racially hierarchical society. By considering the ways in which their experience not only contributes to but challenges the reproduction of racism, the work offers a rigorous examination of existing methodologies, practices and assumptions concerning racism and gender relations.



Light in the Shadows, Dr. Shakti Bugler. World Trust Educational- Services, (n.d.), 45 minutes.
American women of Indigenous, African, Arab, European, Jewish, Asian, Latina and Mixed Race descent, use authentic dialogue to crack open a critical door of consciousness.


The Way Home

Shakti Butler, World Trust Educational Services, (n.d.). 92 minutes.
Over the course of eight months, sixty-four women representing a cross-section of cultures (Indigenous, African- American, Arab/Middle Eastern, Asian, European-American, Jewish, Latina, and Multiracial) came together to share their experience of racism in America. Serves as a model for dialogue that sets the context for constructive conversations on oppression through the lens of race. Her work moves conversations beyond black and white and speaks to the interconnectedness of racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia.


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