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Radicalism at the CrossroadsAfrican American Women Activists in the Cold War$
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Dayo F. Gore

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814732366

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814732366.001.0001

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In Defense of Black Womanhood

In Defense of Black Womanhood

Race, Gender, Class, and the Politics of Interracial Solidarity, 1945–1951

Chapter:
(p.46) 2 In Defense of Black Womanhood
Source:
Radicalism at the Crossroads
Author(s):

Dayo F. Gore

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814732366.003.0002

This chapter analyzes the writings of black women radicals such as Thelma Dale Perkins, Beulah Richardson, Alice Childress, and Claudia Jones, who engaged public conversation over dominant constructions of black womanhood and gender relations in the United States. It examines the debates about the black family and heterosexual relationships that emerged in the black-owned publication Negro Digest, as well as the calls for addressing women's equality by white women in the Communist Party. These debates provide a backdrop for examining black women's discussion of such issues in various publications, speeches, and their own cultural work, as they intervened to include black women's experiences in theorizing “the woman's question” and “the Negro question” within a range of left spaces. In analyzing this political contestation, the chapter pays particular attention to the ways in which black women radicals critiqued white women's privilege, discussed constructions of black women's sexuality, and articulated a black feminist politics.

Keywords:   black women radicals, Thelma Dale Perkins, Beulah Richardson, Alice Childress, Claudia Jones, black womanhood, gender relations, black family, equality, white women

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