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Davis, Angela. The Black Woman’s Role in the Community of Slaves
1971, The Bancroft Library
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Added by: Tomasz Zyglewicz, Shannon Brick, Michael Greer
Introduction: The paucity of literature on the black woman is outrageous on its face. But we must also contend with the fact that too many of these rare studies must claim as their signal achievement the reinforcement of fictitious cliches. They have given credence to grossly distorted categories through which the black woman continues to be perceived.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Content warning: Details of cruelties of slavery, sexual assault. In this 1971 text written while incarcerated, Angela Davis makes an argument against the truth of a stereotype of the black enslaved woman. She argues that, contrary to popular belief, the stereotype of a black woman under slavery as the “matriarch” (i.e., dominating the men in their lives and colluding with the white slaver in black people’s oppression) is not true. Instead, she argues, appealing to empirical evidence and marxist theory, that black women’s position in the community of slaves uniquely positioned them to aid in liberation struggles. She argues it is empirically borne out that they in fact were crucial to both explicit and everyday resistance efforts.

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Davis, Angela. Women, Race, and Class
1981, Random House.
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Added by: Anne-Marie McCallion
Publisher’s Note:

Angela Davis provides a powerful history of the social and political influence of whiteness and elitism in feminism, from abolitionist days to the present, and demonstrates how the racist and classist biases of its leaders inevitably hampered any collective ambitions. While Black women were aided by some activists like Sarah and Angelina Grimke and the suffrage cause found unwavering support in Frederick Douglass, many women played on the fears of white supremacists for political gain rather than take an intersectional approach to liberation. Here, Davis not only contextualizes the legacy and pitfalls of civil and women’s rights activists, but also discusses Communist women, the murder of Emmitt Till, and Margaret Sanger’s racism. Davis shows readers how the inequalities between Black and white women influence the contemporary issues of rape, reproductive freedom, housework and child care in this bold and indispensable w

Comment: Angela Davis is an American political activist, philosopher, academic and author. She is a professor at the University of California and a longtime member of the Communist Party USA. She is also a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) and the author of over ten books on class, feminism, race, and the US prison system. Women, Race and Class is a Marxist feminist analysis of gender, race and class. The third book written by Davis, it covers U.S. history from the slave trade and abolitionism movements to the women's liberation movements which began in the 1960s. In this chapter, Davis examines and describes the unwritten history of black women slaves and their legacies.

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