The Activist Roots of Black Feminist Theory
In an article for Organizing Upgrade, our inaugural Movement Elder-in-Residence Linda Burnham writes about the origins of contemporary Black feminist theory. While academia gets much of the credit, Linda provides a corrective to the misperception and shares how Black women activists in the civil rights and Black Power movements were critical to the theory’s genesis:
The wisdom and insight that emerge from such collective, mass-based inquiry cannot be attributed to the brilliance of a few individuals, although key individuals may play critical roles in sharpening, synthesizing, articulating or documenting the emergence of new concepts out of political struggle. No advanced degrees were required to participate in the discussions out of which emerged the concepts of the both/and of Black women’s reality, the simultaneity of their oppression, and the intersection of race, class and gender. It was, rather, the theoretical production of thoughtful, committed, courageous, and highly engaged women, some of whom went on to elaborate their views in the context of the academy, the vast majority of whom did not. Let us not forget their immeasurable contribution to our current thinking about women’s condition and the dynamics of social oppression.
“The Activist Roots of Black Feminist Theory” by Linda Burnham, Organizing Upgrade / December 15, 2020
Read the full article here.
Linda Burnham, Solidaire’s Movement Elder-in-Residence, is a movement leader, activist, and organizer with a lifelong commitment to feminist power building. In addition to founding and leading the Women of Color Resource Center for almost two decades, Linda has served as the National Research Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and is an author of seminal articles of left strategy.