Women, Race and Class – Angela Davis
Women, Race and Class is a powerful study of the women’s liberation movement in the U.S., from abolitionist days to the present, that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders. From the widely revered and legendary political activist and scholar Angela Davis.
Women, Race & Class shows how deeply rooted sexism and racism is in our current society, and the book might as easily have been written today, because the issues we face are pretty much identical. In this book Angela Davis eloquently shows how often the white feminist movement has ignored the real needs and issues of the black women, believing and acting as if class and race made no difference to the issues they faced.
She shows that although at the very beginning the abolitionist movement and the women’s rights movement had strong ties and relations, they rather quickly fell apart, and that many white women speaking for women’s rights, would speak against the rights of African Americans, including the women.
The feminist movement has had a tendency to ignore the importance of class and race, but these are real and important issues and they need to be addressed.
Davis’ book is a great starter for anyone interested in the history of the women’s movement. The book begins with slavery and the abolitionist movement and moves into the women’s suffrage movement, the fight for reproductive rights, labor struggles, housework and domestic work, and more.
She delves into the (racist) details we conveniently leave out when discussing famous suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony or feminist, anti-rape activists like Susan Brownmiller. Davis exposes the racism and classism of popular feminist icons and the women’s movement at large. She also details activists who worked to break down not only sexism for white, middle-class women, but racism and classism like Ida B. Wells, W.E.B Du Bois, and more.