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Women, Race & Class by Angela Y. Davis
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Women, Race & Class (1981)

by Angela Y. Davis

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An early "bible" of sorts for me when I was just starting to expand my thinking on ... well ... women, race, and class. ( )
  subabat | Mar 19, 2018 |
Important book to read. In light of the 2016 election the concept of "intersectionality" is still a highly relevant topic. Davis looks at how race, class and gender has affected feminism in US history. These essays look at women, men and their roles they play and how quite often the struggle has often left behind particular groups (and often people who are part of more than one of these groups).
 
That's basically the book. It's worth reading, although I'll have to admit, I found this to be a struggle. I don't like collections of essays, even though the topic was interesting and I learned a lot (and found many parts of the text highly relevant to recent events and events in history). The book was also published in the early 80's and I'd love to see an update.
 
That said, it's still highly relevant and it's definitely a text that should be read a lot more widely. I'm not sure if I really got as much as I really should have out of it but that's definitely a reflection of me and not on the text. I'm glad I read it and reminds me I should really learn more.
 
I bought it but in retrospect it would have been better to borrow it from the library. For certain readers though, this would have be a good book to have as a reference. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
Best for: Readers interested in learning more about the history of the women’s movement from a race and class perspective (it’s right there in the title).

In a nutshell: Brilliant academic and activist Angela Y. Davis provides a thorough history of the women’s movement, with a focus on the contributions of Black women and men and a deep analysis of the ways that white women in particular failed to support the needs of their Black sisters.

Line that sticks with me: “Yet there were those who understood that the abolition of slavery had not abolished the economic oppression of Black people, who therefore had a special and urgent need for political power.” (p73)

Why I chose it: Angela Davis is amazing. Also, I wanted to learn more about the history of the women’s movement outside the white lens.

Review: This book. I need to read this book again. Maybe twice a year. There is so much within it to unpack, to think about.

Ms. Davis starts with slavery and the entire concept of womanhood, looking at how the Black experience of womanhood in the U.S. differed from the experience of the white woman. She continues on through abolition and suffrage, focusing a large portion of her time on the 1850s-1930s. Each chapter feels like it could have been the start of a seminar on the topic; I assume there are (or at least could be) entire graduate-level courses constructed around examining each of these essays.

I didn’t really learn much about the U.S. suffragettes in school, so when I saw this article (http://the-toast.net/2014/04/21/suffragettes-sucked-white-supremacy-womens-right...) a few years ago, I remember thinking ‘oh fuck.’ You may have seen a few of the more recent articles – like during the election – pointing this same thing out. But Ms. Davis gives so much more context to this, providing a detailed history, full of great original source material from speeches and other documents. It is frustrating and fascinating and infuriating, all at the same time.

She also focuses chapters near the end on the racial implications of rape (“Rape, Racism and the Myth of the Black Rapist”) and on how racism factored into and colors how Black women view birth control and reproductive right. Holy shit, people. These chapters are SO GOOD. Rage inducing, but critical to understanding this nation’s race relations history.

Not that I’m in any position to disagree with Ms. Davis on anything, but I did have a bit of a problem with the final chapter, on housework. Once you read it, you might understand when I say that I don’t disagree with her, but I think that she missed a big part of the picture. In that chapter, she takes issue with the fight for women to earn wages doing housework. She raises valid points, but in this area, I think fails to take into consideration what could bridge the gap between the current (bad) situation and the ideal situation.

But that’s one minor issue – and one I might change my mind about once I think on it more. The whole book is just fantastic. Go get it. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 8, 2017 |
I read this book for my Women in Politics class.

This book's central focus is intersectional feminism. It highlights how gender, race, and class factor into inequality. This book started off incredibly strong, but lost its way a bit in the later chapters. However, still a fantastic and insightful book. ( )
1 vote jessicadelellis | May 3, 2016 |
This is a wonderful collection of essays about race (mainly black Americans v. white Americans/immigrants). Davis includes some really important information about early rich white (American) lady reproductive rights work and the exclusion of WOC and working class ladies from the movement. I take issue with some of her rhetorical strategies and she turns a blind eye to what politics is actually like when human beings are involved (frailties!), but overall this essay collection is 100% required reading (except perhaps that last chapter).

( )
1 vote eenee | Apr 2, 2013 |
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To my mother, Sallye B. Davis
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When the influential scholar Ulrich B. Phillips declared in 1918 that slavery in the Old South had impressed upon African savages and their native-born descendants the glorious stamp of civilization, he set the stage for a long and passionate debate.
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Book description
Book on race, class and feminism by black US communist Angela Davis.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394713516, Paperback)

Longtime activist, author and political figure Angela Davis brings us this expose of the women's movement in the context of the fight for civil rights and working class issues. She uncovers a side of the fight for suffrage many of us have not heard: the intimate tie between the anti-slavery campaign and the struggle for women's suffrage. She shows how the racist and classist bias of some in the women's movement have divided its own membership. Davis' message is clear: If we ever want equality, we're gonna have to fight for it together.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:30 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.--Publisher website.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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