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Black Internationalist FeminismWomen Writers of the Black Left, 1945-1995$
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Cheryl Higashida

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036507

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036507.001.0001

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The Negro Question, the Woman Question, and the “Vital Link”

The Negro Question, the Woman Question, and the “Vital Link”

Histories and Institutions

Chapter:
(p.31) 1 The Negro Question, the Woman Question, and the “Vital Link”
Source:
Black Internationalist Feminism
Author(s):

Cheryl Higashida

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252036507.003.0002

This chapter provides a history of Black internationalist feminism. It begins with the intertwinings of Black nationalist and Old Left movements in the interwar years, with special attention to the Black Belt Nation Thesis, which produced political solidarities beyond the limited affiliations engendered and policed by U.S. liberal democracy. While putting the Black Belt Nation Thesis into practice entrenched Left masculinism more fully, several leading Black Communists transformed the meaning of self-determination to allow for intersectional analysis of race and gender and to address the “special oppressed status” of Black women. In doing so, African American Left women in particular paved the way for postwar Black feminism, which Claudia Jones definitively theorized. The chapter then demonstrates how the activism and analysis of African American women on the Old Left such as Maude White Katz and Louise Thompson Patterson laid grounds for postwar Black feminism.

Keywords:   Black internationalist feminism, Black nationalist movement, Old Left movement, Black Belt Nation Thesis, U.S. liberal democracy, Left masculinism, Black Communists, Black feminism, Claudia Jones

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