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A powerful study of the women's 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. A powerful study of the women's 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.


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A powerful study of the women's 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. A powerful study of the women's 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.

30 review for Women, Race & Class

  1. 4 out of 5

    Always Pouting

    I really am glad I finally got around to reading this. The book examines the history of the feminist movement in the United States with an eye towards the ways in which the movement fell short on meeting the needs of women who had other marginalized identities. I personally knew some of this history but not all and as Davis mentions it's crucial to grapple with the historic actions of movements when trying to address why certain people choose not to engage in those movements. I also think most p I really am glad I finally got around to reading this. The book examines the history of the feminist movement in the United States with an eye towards the ways in which the movement fell short on meeting the needs of women who had other marginalized identities. I personally knew some of this history but not all and as Davis mentions it's crucial to grapple with the historic actions of movements when trying to address why certain people choose not to engage in those movements. I also think most people don't have a good understanding of what intersectionality means necessarily and have a tendency to reduce it down to being about who is "more oppressed". I think the book could do a good job of helping one develop a more nuanced understanding of intersectionality as the ways in which different identities intersect to create differing needs and experiences, which need to be addressed individually. This was 4.5 stars for me and I would totally recommend it to others who want to learn more about feminism or those trying to cultivate a better political analysis around women's liberation and the way it intersects with other movements.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf

    An early masterpiece, showing the importance of emancipation, feminism, and gender equality, owning the unresolved past with its toxic influence on present and future by using Big History, describing the story of the long term consequences of slavery and oppression, showing the truth from the points of views of the victims many ideologies, directly causing the problems in the first place, want to ignore. It strongly reminded me of the ideas and conclusions of White fragility https://www.goodread An early masterpiece, showing the importance of emancipation, feminism, and gender equality, owning the unresolved past with its toxic influence on present and future by using Big History, describing the story of the long term consequences of slavery and oppression, showing the truth from the points of views of the victims many ideologies, directly causing the problems in the first place, want to ignore. It strongly reminded me of the ideas and conclusions of White fragility https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4... Why I am no longer talking to white people about race https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3... and similar, progressive, critical books. It would be interesting to know if these authors found all of their ideas themselves or developed Davis´, and possibly similar authors´ ideas, to fit to the current situation. Maybe it´s even in some footnotes or addendum, I don´t know. It´s amazing how a four decade old work has the sharpness and accuracy to use it to extrapolate the future that sadly came, that Big History and recognizing the underlying problems constructed by terrible pasts cannibalizing away the future are a problem even more dangerous in modern times, because the internet, primarily social media, has enabled radicalization and backlashes in dimensions unthinkable just 10 or 15 years ago. Especially the ideas of intersectionality https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interse... should be in a much bigger focus, but because they open up far too many and deep implications, they are mostly left out and ignored by established public and private media, because they are too heavy by directly showing the truth. Some of the most interesting points newer authors like to mention too, because of the underrepresentation and no debate in general media, are the roots of feminism just focused on the interests of white, rich, influential women, leading to ignorance regarding the needs of discriminated and poor population groups, the superficiality and hypocrisy of political parties and ideologies downplaying and ignoring the problems, and a generally completely WEIRD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychol... world in which neglecting the past leads to a blurred, surreal, artificially constructed mentality of many of the influential people that could help to initiate a positive change, but are brainwashed and indoctrinated with a kind of happy end of history for all in harmony madness, ignoring atrocities of the past like forced sterilization, not including black women in the anti rape movement, and doing as if slavery never happened. And, most important, that their political, economic, and occupational activities have of course absolutely nothing to do with postponing redemption, social justice, and equality. 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  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Incisive and concise, Women, Race, and Class charts the history of racial and gender oppression in America. In lucid prose Angela Davis breaks down how misogyny, racism, and classism have shaped the character of the nation’s social life from the Antebellum Era to the Sixties. She pays special attention to how white-dominated middle-class social movements often have forgone solidarity with working people and Black people, ostensibly for the sake of political expediency, and highlights how the nar Incisive and concise, Women, Race, and Class charts the history of racial and gender oppression in America. In lucid prose Angela Davis breaks down how misogyny, racism, and classism have shaped the character of the nation’s social life from the Antebellum Era to the Sixties. She pays special attention to how white-dominated middle-class social movements often have forgone solidarity with working people and Black people, ostensibly for the sake of political expediency, and highlights how the narrow goals of white reformists has allowed capitalist oppression to remain in tact. Over the course of thirteen succinct chapters the author makes clear the complex ties between America’s many dehumanizing systems of social control, and builds a visionary argument for cooperation among all marginalized peoples.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ONTD Feminism

    LJ user gingersomething: I really think this should be required reading for middle class white feminists struggling to comprehend intersectionality. Although, judging from that first goodreads review, maybe some are just beyond reach. LJ user gingersomething: I really think this should be required reading for middle class white feminists struggling to comprehend intersectionality. Although, judging from that first goodreads review, maybe some are just beyond reach.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    A fantastic book that examines the history of the feminist movement with a keen attention to the intersections of gender, race, and class. The term intersectionality has become such a buzzword nowadays, often used to describe having various social identities; Kimberle Crenshaw created the term in reference to how multiple systems of oppression affect those with more than one marginalized identity. Angela Davis honors this original conception of intersectionality by examining how the feminist mov A fantastic book that examines the history of the feminist movement with a keen attention to the intersections of gender, race, and class. The term intersectionality has become such a buzzword nowadays, often used to describe having various social identities; Kimberle Crenshaw created the term in reference to how multiple systems of oppression affect those with more than one marginalized identity. Angela Davis honors this original conception of intersectionality by examining how the feminist movement has largely failed black women, lower class women, lower class black women, and women in general who fall outside of the upper to middle class white women bubble. Davis discusses a range of historical and feminist topics such as how the anti-rape movement excluded black women, how capitalism’s devaluing of housework has disadvantaged poor women, and reproductive rights and the cruel, forced sterilization of black women. Though first published in 1983, this book’s themes unfortunately still apply to today, where the feminist movement still often devalues those who are not white, cisgender, upper to middle class, educated, straight, able-bodied, and more. Davis also pays homage to activists who have fought the racism and classism within the feminist movement such as Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. Du Bois. This classic book will continue to make me work harder to ensure my feminist actions address intersectionality and that I hold myself accountable for my errors. Highly recommended to everyone interested in feminism, especially those of us who hold more privilege than others (so basically, everyone).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    4.5**** rounded up. If Black people had simply accepted a status of economic and political inferiority, the mob murders would probably have subsided. But because vast numbers of ex-slaves refused to discard their dreams of progress, more than ten thousand lynchings occurred during the three decades following the war. Concise, informative and at times shocking, Angela Davis has analysed and documented how racism, sexism and classism has effected American social history. Before “intersectionality” w 4.5**** rounded up. If Black people had simply accepted a status of economic and political inferiority, the mob murders would probably have subsided. But because vast numbers of ex-slaves refused to discard their dreams of progress, more than ten thousand lynchings occurred during the three decades following the war. Concise, informative and at times shocking, Angela Davis has analysed and documented how racism, sexism and classism has effected American social history. Before “intersectionality” was termed, Angela Davis used these three factors in determining why social life is the way that it is. She particularly focuses on how white middle-class social movements (particularly feminism) has forgone the inclusion of the working class and black people among their goals, for the sake of political allies, and how the systems of capitalism and oppression of these people have remained in tact. I didn’t know much about American suffrage (being from the UK) but found out a lot more from this book. People who are held as “feminists” were excluding a vast majority of people for the sake of the vote - I was especially shocked to read of Susan B Anthony and Susan Brownmiller (both of who I have heard of within the feminist movement) and their vicious comments and actions toward those of a different race and class, in order to gain favour and try to get the vote. I, however, enjoyed learning and reading about Sijourner Truth, Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglass and their move to improve the rights of females and black people. To write what this book covers in this review will not do it justice. Angela Davis covers American history from slavery up until the late 1900’s and the impact of racism, sexism and class. She documents this in a concise way so you never get lost in her writing and it is accompanied by case studies and quotes. This book covered such topics as the POC strong urge for education and the white and black women who secretly helped them (if found the results would be lynching, whipping, etc); the myth of the black rapist (especially how this was upheld to promote and justify lynchings); and forced sterilisation and eugenics (since 1933 over 7500+ sterilisations had been carried out, over 5000 had been black-Nial Ruth Cox lawsuit against the state of North Carolina). This book also delves into the important black social movements and movements for working women and the achievements they have made. I particularly enjoyed reading the section “Communist Women” and reading about the amazing women who recognised that race and sex were both forms of oppression in a capitalist society. While trying to uplift those who are oppressed in this society and speak out, these women were often locked up for long periods of time due to their communist speeches. I enjoyed reading this book and the educational value it held. I’m sure when rereading it in future I’ll retain more knowledge and discover new things. As a rule, white abolitionists either defended the industrial capitalists or expressed no conscious class loyalty at all. This unquestioning acceptance of the capitalist economic system was evident in the program of the women’s rights movement as well. If most abolitionists viewed slavery as a nasty blemish which needed to be eliminated, most women’s righters viewed male supremacy in a similar manner—as an immoral flaw in their otherwise acceptable society. The leaders of the women’s rights movement did not suspect that the enslavement of Black people in the South, the economic exploitation of Northern workers and the social oppression of women might be systematically related.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    I have been lied to about the Suffrage movement, Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton. I think it’s pretty unsettling that words written in the late 70’s/ early 80’s ring true today and I’m left to wonder if we as a society learned anything in the almost forty years when the book was written. This book is a lesson in the history in the fight to stop sexual violence and supporting reproductive rights and gender equality for women of color and the racism perpetrated at the hands of middle class w I have been lied to about the Suffrage movement, Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton. I think it’s pretty unsettling that words written in the late 70’s/ early 80’s ring true today and I’m left to wonder if we as a society learned anything in the almost forty years when the book was written. This book is a lesson in the history in the fight to stop sexual violence and supporting reproductive rights and gender equality for women of color and the racism perpetrated at the hands of middle class white women. If you call yourself a feminist and a fighter for women’s rights, shouldn’t that include all women regardless of race and class? It reminds me of the feminist movement today. White feminists call for attention to issues concerning woman today - rape, harassment, misogyny (#metoo #blacklivesmatter #timesup) but when their voices are truly needed, they are conspicuously absent. White women really need to read this book to truly understand intersectionality and their privilege.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ify

    4.5 stars There's so much that this book explores, and it provides so much context for current events, like the current state of feminism in the U.S., and some Audre Lorde's essays in Sister Outsider, as well as essays in This Bridge Called My Back. Although this book ended abruptly, it doesn't detract from the obvious comprehensive work and research conducted by Angela Davis. I liked the structure of the book. Sometimes it made for a confusing read as it wasn't necessarily a chronology detailing 4.5 stars There's so much that this book explores, and it provides so much context for current events, like the current state of feminism in the U.S., and some Audre Lorde's essays in Sister Outsider, as well as essays in This Bridge Called My Back. Although this book ended abruptly, it doesn't detract from the obvious comprehensive work and research conducted by Angela Davis. I liked the structure of the book. Sometimes it made for a confusing read as it wasn't necessarily a chronology detailing of events, but more topical. More thoughts to come, but this was a dense and necessary read for me & one I highly recommend. I'm eager to read Patricia Collins' Black Feminist Thought and Brittney Cooper's Beyond Respectability in the near future for other perspectives on Black feminists & intellects. P.S: Shout out to @diverseclassics (on Instagram) for selecting this book. P.S.S: Another reviewer (Reggie) brought up Davis' omission of Anna Julia Cooper, which seems like a huge oversight & I can't help but wonder about this.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I give this book 4.5 stars which rounds up to 5. 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. I give this book 4.5 stars which rounds up to 5. 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    An important work marking the intersections of class, race and gender...and all the history behind people you've vaguely looked up to because no one ever talks about the way they really felt about Black people. So you can respect some of what they've done, but Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger are forever debarred from my cannon of heroes. In criticising the 14th and 15th amendments, Stanton and Anthony descended into a horrifying racism, and I believe Davis is right wh An important work marking the intersections of class, race and gender...and all the history behind people you've vaguely looked up to because no one ever talks about the way they really felt about Black people. So you can respect some of what they've done, but Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger are forever debarred from my cannon of heroes. In criticising the 14th and 15th amendments, Stanton and Anthony descended into a horrifying racism, and I believe Davis is right when she writes Granted they felt they had as powerful a case for suffrage as Black men. Yet in articulating their opposition with arguments invoking the privileges of white supremacy, they revealed how defenceless they remained--even after years of involvement in progressive causes--to the pernicious ideological influence of racism.[76] Anthony confessed to having capitulated to racism ”on the ground of expediency”, and remained chair of the National American Woman Suffrage Association through 1900. Despite knowing people like Frederick Douglass (whose incredible grasp of movement and the importance of fighting on fronts of race, class and gender simultaneously is so incredibly inspiring)and Ida B. Wells. Davis writes In the eyes of the suffragists, “woman was the ultimate test -- if the cause of woman could be furthered, it was not wrong for women to function as scabs when male workers in their trade were on strike [139-140] With Davis I would agree this was a deeply damaging viewpoint, but one that must be critiqued and should never be forgotten--like Sangar's flirtation with eugenics. What I love is how this book rescues the real heroes, the people who should also never be forgotten. The working class women that joined the priveliged group at Seneca Falls like Charlotte Woodward, who said: We women work secretly in the seclusion of our bed chambers because all society was built on the theory that men, not women, earned money and that men alone supported the family ... I do not believe that there was any community in which the souls of some women were not beating their wings in rebellion. For my own obscure self, I can say that every fibre of my being rebelled, although silently, all the hours that I sat and sewed gloves for a miserable pittance which, as it was earned, could never be mine. I wanted to work, but I wanted to choose my task and I wanted to collect my wages. That was my form of rebellion against the life into which I was born. I had never known the extent of Ida B. Wells’ work. Her first pamphlet against lynching was published in 1895. Called A Red Record, she calculated over 10,000 lynchings had taken place between 1865 and 1895, she writes: Not all nor nearly all of the murders done by white men during the past thirty years have come to light, but the statistics as gathered and preserved by white men, and which have not been questioned, show that during these years more than ten thousand Negroes have been killed in cold blood, without the formality of judicial trial and legal execution. And yet, as evidence of the absolute impunity with which the white man dares to kill a Negro, the same record shows that during all these years, and for all these murders, only three white men have been tried, convicted and executed. As no white man has been lynched for the murder of coloured people, these three executions are the only instances of the death penalty being visited upon white men for murdering Negroes. [184] The way she was treated in the mainstream press is almost unthinkable today, the New York Times editorializing in 1904: Immediately following the day of Miss Wells’ return to the United States, a Negro man assaulted a white woman in New York City ‘for the purposes of lust and plunder.’ ... The circumstances of his fiendish crime may serve to convince the mulatress missionary that the promulgation in New York just now of her theory of Negro outrages is, to sya the least, inopportune.’ [192] Davis deals with some of the ways that this connects to gender construction through the characterization of black men as rapists, and to class as 'white workers who assented to lynching necessarily assumed a posture of racial solidarity with the white men who were really their oppressors. This was a critical moment in the popularization of racist ideology' [190]. These are issues that definitely needed -- and have received -- much more attention since this was published, but as a summation of all that we knew, a rescuing and restating of feminist and anti-racist and marxist histories, and a call to future scholarship, this book is brilliant.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Abeer Abdullah

    A book like absolutely no other, Absolutely no other. Never there was and never there will ever be anyone like Angela Y. Davis. My personal hero, and everything I ever want to be.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Zachary F.

    I think these days most people who call themselves feminists understand, at least in a vague sense, what "intersectionality" is and accept that it's important. In case you don't, here's Merriam-Webster's definition: intersectionality (n.): the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups Of course paying lip service to t I think these days most people who call themselves feminists understand, at least in a vague sense, what "intersectionality" is and accept that it's important. In case you don't, here's Merriam-Webster's definition: intersectionality (n.): the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups Of course paying lip service to the concept is one thing, while shaping one's actions and activism accordingly is another. If you browse the "feminism" section at your local bookstore or library you'll still see mostly white, cishet, middle-to-upper-class authors, addressing mostly white, cishet, middle-to-upper-class audiences and concerns. Most of the individual women held up in contemporary media as feminist icons—be they politicians, performers, or historical figures—will also meet at least a couple of these criteria, and usually all of the above. This isn't to diminish the important and difficult work that is and has been done by such women, but if the most privileged members of a supposedly-radical social movement are consistently being upheld as its most exemplary spokespeople, you can bet it's happening at the expense of those with fewer advantages. And as you might have guessed by now, this isn't a new phenomenon either. Published in 1981, eight years before Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the i-word itself, Angela Davis's Women, Race, and Class is exactly what its title suggests: a broad study of race and class as they've historically intersected with American feminist and proto-feminist movements. Starting with slavery and working gradually forward to her own time, Davis paints a vivid and detailed picture of the occasional allyship and more frequent conflict between well-to-do white woman activists on the one hand, and people of color and the working class on the other. And mostly the situation has been even worse than you might think. The women's movement in the U.S., Davis argues, can trace its origins to the anti-slavery movement. Many white women were vehement early supporters of abolition, but they were roused to advocate for their own rights, too, when they found themselves discounted and silenced on sexist grounds by the very (white) men who claimed to be on their side. Black people, in turn, offered their enthusiastic support to the burgeoning women's movement: Sojourner Truth's 1851 "Ain't I a Woman" speech and subsequent activism earned her both respect and notoriety in proto-feminist circles, while Frederick Douglass proved to be one of the early movement's most unshakable and outspoken male allies. Once slavery was abolished, however, this productive partnership began to crumble. White "progressives" such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton took offense to the idea of black men gaining the vote before white women, and resorted to blatantly racist rhetoric to justify their opposition to the 14th and 15th amendments. In the decades after the amendments were passed (and then effectively repealed) these white women continued to find reasons to disregard the plight of their would-be black allies, first claiming that to support black causes would mean losing valuable support from Southern white women, then dropping the façade completely and embracing all manner of white supremacist notions such as eugenics and myths of black people's moral inferiority. Nor was the movement's track record on issues of class much better: middle- and upper-class WASPs always played the largest and most visible role in the women's movement, and they chose their priorities accordingly. Despite occasional gestures towards working-class solidarity, when pressed the mainstream women's movement would almost always prop up capitalist interests. There's a lot more to it than that, and, though her book comes in at fewer than 300 pages, Davis makes her case comprehensively and convincing. She provides a wealth of quotes directly from the women and men she discusses, and one would be hard-pressed to deny the obvious racism and classism laid out by these figures in their own words. Here's Elizabeth Cady Stanton asking, rhetorically, "whether we had better step aside and see 'S*mbo' walk into the kingdom [i.e. receive the vote] first"; here's Susan B. Anthony admitting she'd rather drop her old friend and advocate Frederick Douglass from her convention roster than let "anything get in the way of bringing the southern white women into our suffrage association"; and here's Margaret Sanger acknowledging, in a private letter, that by promoting effective birth control in the South her real goal is "to exterminate the Negro population" (!!!). And this stuff wasn't just happening in the olden days. Well into the 1970s, prominent second-wave feminists such as Susan Brownmiller and Shulamith Firestone were perpetuating the myth of black men as insatiable rapists and even—in Brownmiller's case—strongly implying that the heinous lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till was justified. (As if such an implication weren't cruel enough already, let us remember that Till's white accuser confessed to perjury in 2017.) It's clear from these examples and many, many others that the operative part of white feminism has always been whiteness, not feminism. And yet despite this appalling and pervasive proof of discrimination, Davis herself does not come off as cynical or pessimistic. She expresses sincere belief in the power of united, egalitarian social movements to enact change within oppressive societal structures, and she never fails to give props to true allies and revolutionaries regardless of race or gender. She proposes little in the way of a longterm solution to the problems she flags up, but it's clear she believes her scholarship to be a base upon which future and better on-the-ground work can be built. And because her writing is concise and direct, unfettered by needlessly dense academese or theoretical jargon (which isn't to say she's not fluent in these dialects when necessary), her book is a whole lot more accessible than other classics of gender, race, or class theory tend to be. I sometimes found myself wishing Women, Race, and Class had been given a bit more of an overarching structure (in the first edition, at least, there's no introduction or conclusion, and the chapters read more like standalone essays arranged chronologically than like a cumulative argument built up point by point), and the final chapter, urging housewives to leave the home and join the labor force, felt like an abrupt and somewhat anticlimactic conclusion to an otherwise masterful historical overview. It's also worth mentioning that the "race" portion of Davis's analysis is confined pretty much exclusively to black/white people and relations, and, while I understand and respect Davis's choice here, it would have been interesting to see how the experiences of other women of color in America have coincided with or differed from these women's. But perhaps that’s a task better left to other books and authors. On the whole, though, Davis's book serves as the kind of would-be wake-up call that the mainstream feminist movement still hasn't quite managed to heed. Until white feminists are willing to reckon with our past and present sins and make serious moves to atone for them, feminism will never be a truly liberatory movement for most women in America and elsewhere. Reading and amplifying intersectional voices like Davis's, while not the whole solution, is at least a great way to start that process going.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I adore this book. It is one of those books that blew apart the white middle class way I was raised, and it made me a smarter and better person. Her ideas are so powerful that they deserve to be read and reread.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Neal Adolph

    I may at some point take the time to write something better than this, but I also might not. If I do, it will do more justice to this book than what I am currently offering. If I do not, then this short little paragraph will have to do. Women, Race, and Class is a classic work. It is old, but it is not dated. It is essential reading in a way that the works of Ta-Nehisi Coates' are not (though that is not to detract from how essential his works are as well). Angela Davis is a visionary, an attenti I may at some point take the time to write something better than this, but I also might not. If I do, it will do more justice to this book than what I am currently offering. If I do not, then this short little paragraph will have to do. Women, Race, and Class is a classic work. It is old, but it is not dated. It is essential reading in a way that the works of Ta-Nehisi Coates' are not (though that is not to detract from how essential his works are as well). Angela Davis is a visionary, an attentive academic, a marvelous historian, and an erudite, compassionate, calm writer. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to find her voice in the cacophony of voices, but I am glad to have found her at last. I look forward to reading more by her. Essential. Important. Read this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lizbeth

    This is a thorough and fascinating read! I've never read US History through the lens Angel Davis offers in Women, Race, and Class. The fact that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a suffragist but failed to include Black women in her movement reminds me of today's so-called-feminists who refuse to include trans women in their considerations. I never know how Margaret Sanger voiced eugenic ideology with obvious racist reasoning. I didn't realize the dimensions of consequences that result from the perils This is a thorough and fascinating read! I've never read US History through the lens Angel Davis offers in Women, Race, and Class. The fact that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a suffragist but failed to include Black women in her movement reminds me of today's so-called-feminists who refuse to include trans women in their considerations. I never know how Margaret Sanger voiced eugenic ideology with obvious racist reasoning. I didn't realize the dimensions of consequences that result from the perils of an overly capitalist culture. These things are not taught in high school. This should be required reading!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Angela Davis is a name that I often heard when we are talking about the inequality of America but I do not know much about her. However, I did knew that Angela Rye, a Political commentator was named after her dad who was an advocate of emancipation for Blacks. Now unto reviewing the book which I found very insightful and educational. "Have not "black male citizens." been heard to say they doubted the wisdom of extending the right of the suffrage to women? Why should the African prove more just an Angela Davis is a name that I often heard when we are talking about the inequality of America but I do not know much about her. However, I did knew that Angela Rye, a Political commentator was named after her dad who was an advocate of emancipation for Blacks. Now unto reviewing the book which I found very insightful and educational. "Have not "black male citizens." been heard to say they doubted the wisdom of extending the right of the suffrage to women? Why should the African prove more just and generous than his Saxon compeers? If the two millions of Southern black women are not to be secured the rights of person. property, wages and children, their emancipation is but another form of slavery. In fact, it is better to be the slave of an educated white man, than of a degraded ignorant black one." I had to read this quote twice, it is so poignant and sad when you think about how slavery this effects us today. It is only subtle now but it still goes on, that is what makes it frustrating because freedom is hardly even granted to Blacks, at least not the same type of freedom that white counterparts experience. I liked how this book talked about modern day slavery and the struggles that Black women are facing today. I will consider myself a Feminist, I believe that woman should have the same rights as men. They should have equal pay, equal opportunity and they should not only be known as the nurturing kind when there are varieties of woman who have different strengths and weakness. Women should not be known by their physical appearance or their emotions but by their willingness to speak up against the injustice in society. This was a pleasant read, I plan to read more books by Davis, she is an extraordinary woman with great talent.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    I remember borrowing this book from the public library on Fordham Road when I was 15....it was the first book I ever took out and I never returned it. I poured over its pages. This turned me on to feminist research and critical theory in a way I can't full express. At 15 I knew the life of the mind was for me....which is crazy... I've since donated a new copy....but I didn't explain to the librarians the circumstances of my donation. I remember borrowing this book from the public library on Fordham Road when I was 15....it was the first book I ever took out and I never returned it. I poured over its pages. This turned me on to feminist research and critical theory in a way I can't full express. At 15 I knew the life of the mind was for me....which is crazy... I've since donated a new copy....but I didn't explain to the librarians the circumstances of my donation.

  18. 4 out of 5

    J.P.

    I loved this book! I learned a lot from this book that I think I would not have learned otherwise. She details the roles of Black women in the black community from slavery up through the modern era. The role of black women as equals to their men in regards to work during the time of slavery which is contrasted with the role of free white women in society at the time. Details of how class & race lines affected black women are detailed as well, the things they endured & what they would do simply t I loved this book! I learned a lot from this book that I think I would not have learned otherwise. She details the roles of Black women in the black community from slavery up through the modern era. The role of black women as equals to their men in regards to work during the time of slavery which is contrasted with the role of free white women in society at the time. Details of how class & race lines affected black women are detailed as well, the things they endured & what they would do simply to survive. The history of their roles in uprisings & various efforts to educate & free black people are given time as well. The effects of emancipation on how their roles changed & what the Women's Suffrage & Feminist Movements meant for black people in general & black women specifically are demonstrated as well. She also gets into the consequences of those movements changing attitudes towards black people &, again, black women specifically affected how they were treated throughout society. There also examples of various allies to the advancement of black women that have various backgrounds, some foreign, some black men & some white women as well. Angela also goes into how certain aspects of racism, classism & sexism connect with & damage the perception of black women & black men. There is also attention paid to how the struggles & changes of society affect black women, their roles & choices. It's a great book that allows for a more robust & accurate big picture of history in general & the importance of that cannot be stressed enough.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bookish Bethany

    Davis provides a sharp and succinct history of black, female and class oppression from the pre-1800s, to slaves working the fields, to liberation, segregation and the now. She lists out historical facts and statistics with a careful kind of power, sprinkling the very concrete reasons black people - specifically black women - have suffered at the hands of the overarchingly prejudiced / racist / sexist system. She demonstrates that feminism needs to be intersectional. You can't stand for equality Davis provides a sharp and succinct history of black, female and class oppression from the pre-1800s, to slaves working the fields, to liberation, segregation and the now. She lists out historical facts and statistics with a careful kind of power, sprinkling the very concrete reasons black people - specifically black women - have suffered at the hands of the overarchingly prejudiced / racist / sexist system. She demonstrates that feminism needs to be intersectional. You can't stand for equality and block out issues of race and class (they all feed into and rely on one another). What shocked me the most was section on planned parenthood and sterilisation. I had no idea that the US actively sterilized thousands of black women each year (alongside native americans, 'aliens' - to use the nasty word given in the text - and those with mental dissabilities) to keep races pure. This hateful, quasi-Nazi kind of eugenics is still practiced. Reading this made me feel sick. A lot of the women sterilized were not fully informed, were poor and had no other options or were told that the sterilisation would be temporary. These doctors and institutions were trying to eradicate all races outside of white, that is fundamentally evil and they hailed it as a triumph in the 'planned parenthood' battle. My only problem is sometimes the writing, so pacted with knowledge and statistics, felt dry and difficult to break through.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Of particular interest in this modern American classic is the political divide-and-conquer tactics of the US Democrat and Republican parties. As the 2 parties to the same elites, they benefited from division between the abolition movement and the women's suffrage movement, illustrating the "Intersectionality" of Women, Race, and Class. Ch.10 and Ch.13 also stand out; for the latter chapter's topic, Silvia Federici's writings on unpaid labor and Wages for Housework was what shook me to realize th Of particular interest in this modern American classic is the political divide-and-conquer tactics of the US Democrat and Republican parties. As the 2 parties to the same elites, they benefited from division between the abolition movement and the women's suffrage movement, illustrating the "Intersectionality" of Women, Race, and Class. Ch.10 and Ch.13 also stand out; for the latter chapter's topic, Silvia Federici's writings on unpaid labor and Wages for Housework was what shook me to realize the magnitude of this topic. Nancy Folbre is another writer to explore here.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jenia

    4.5 stars! Random thoughts: Overall, I really ehhh “enjoyed” is the wrong word. But I thought it was a really strong book. I felt like Davis tried to be fair to everyone’s plight when it would have been really easy to say “yeah ok but the housewife’s problems are minuscule compared to the enslaved woman soooo fuck the housewife.” I also found the description of solidarity between people with different oppressions really inspiring. As I’m not USian I guess I was a little disappointed because it was 4.5 stars! Random thoughts: Overall, I really ehhh “enjoyed” is the wrong word. But I thought it was a really strong book. I felt like Davis tried to be fair to everyone’s plight when it would have been really easy to say “yeah ok but the housewife’s problems are minuscule compared to the enslaved woman soooo fuck the housewife.” I also found the description of solidarity between people with different oppressions really inspiring. As I’m not USian I guess I was a little disappointed because it was focused so tightly on the US + on Black and white people (I feel like I remain very hazy on what was going on with Native Americans and Asian Americans around that time period). But at the same time if it zoomed out either the book wouldn’t be able to go into so much detail or it’d have to be ten times as long. When I read books about struggles which I’m not intimately familiar with, I feel like I also learn a lot about what the oppressors are saying based on what counter-arguments the book presents. Like, Davis spends a chunk of the first chapter discussing the “male figure” in the Black family and I guess I didn’t realise that it’s such a point of contention that she has to explain how wrong the assumptions are in detail. Casually mentioning that she didn’t have a lot of resources to use in an older essay because she WAS IN JAIL when she wrote it is such a flex. I really appreciated learning about the history of women’s suffrage and racism in it in such detail. I mean it’s not the first time I’ve heard that, but usually it’s thrown in almost as a gotcha or vague “I acknowledge the first wave of feminism was problematique” disclaimer. I appreciated learning the good and the bad in more detail. Anthony defending Black friends in her personal life but publicly throwing Black women under the bus for political convenience is a far too common type of person I feel. :| Everything about forced sterilisation was nuts. Also something I’d vaguely known for a while, but seeing the numbers written out was something else. I’m unconvinced by the last chapter. I don’t really see how a specialised team coming to my home to clean is any better than a maid coming to my home. That they get paid better? Maybe I can’t quite imagine it in a truly egalitarian society so in my head it’s still an immigrant woman, she just gets paid more, and I don’t see the positive. Tbf this book was written in 1981 - we’re going in the direction of vacuum robots and more and more people having dishwashers, and maybe more technological solutions soon.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Noelia Alonso

    (8/10) Women, Race & Class is a good and informative essay collection. I found some to be more eye-opening than others, especially those that delve into issues I was not familiar with (an example is the sterilisation campaign during the fight for abortion rights which I had not idea about and was extremely difficult to read). Obviously some essays, in terms of the statistics she shares, are a bit outdated. Not the author’s problem though because this is just a compilation of her essays written ye (8/10) Women, Race & Class is a good and informative essay collection. I found some to be more eye-opening than others, especially those that delve into issues I was not familiar with (an example is the sterilisation campaign during the fight for abortion rights which I had not idea about and was extremely difficult to read). Obviously some essays, in terms of the statistics she shares, are a bit outdated. Not the author’s problem though because this is just a compilation of her essays written years ago and it’s completely normal that certain numbers have changed. Maybe it would have been interesting to add some form of introduction or conclusion to the whole collection. Nevertheless, the message she is trying to convey remains and it proves that a lot of issues have not been resolved, they merely change as society changes and we still need to fight. What truly wowed me is how she manages to connect a lot of the problems society has always faced (in regards to gender and race) to capitalism. I highly recommend it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lukas Sotola

    Something revelatory in every chapter. Essential reading.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Why people should read Angela Davis... What intersectionality is: recognizing the ways in which power is expressed through various dimensions, realizing how even avowed feminists can be racist, how antiracists can be homophobes, how gay rights activists can be classist, and so on and so forth, and how any attempt to split us into tribes ultimately serves power structures, when really we should all be fighting what they called The Man back in Angela Davis' heyday. What intersectionality isn't: Buzz Why people should read Angela Davis... What intersectionality is: recognizing the ways in which power is expressed through various dimensions, realizing how even avowed feminists can be racist, how antiracists can be homophobes, how gay rights activists can be classist, and so on and so forth, and how any attempt to split us into tribes ultimately serves power structures, when really we should all be fighting what they called The Man back in Angela Davis' heyday. What intersectionality isn't: Buzzfeed articles, Twitter shaming, boardroom wokeness. To me, this is common sense, and these are ideas that I first heard presented in a systematic way by bell hooks many years ago, although this is ground that Angela Davis had trod before. Since I was already on board, I'm not sure how useful for me this was -- although the examples given are illustrative -- but it's the sort of thing I would widely recommend.

  25. 5 out of 5

    G.

    The strength of Women, Race & Class is somewhat dampened by the communism Kool-Aid Angela Davis clearly partook of at some point in her life. (That Lenin Peace Prize speech on youtube... Oh, the irony.) That said, to this day it's a solid pick for building a foundation to understanding intersectionality. So yeah, a warning and a recommendation in one. The strength of Women, Race & Class is somewhat dampened by the communism Kool-Aid Angela Davis clearly partook of at some point in her life. (That Lenin Peace Prize speech on youtube... Oh, the irony.) That said, to this day it's a solid pick for building a foundation to understanding intersectionality. So yeah, a warning and a recommendation in one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Raquel

    3.75 ★★★★☆ «’Woman’ was the test, but not every woman seemed to qualify. Black women, of course, were virtually invisible within the protracted campaign for woman suffrage.» Review in English | Reseña en español (abajo) Women, Race & Class by Angela Davis is nowadays a classic feminist essay that had been on my wish-list for some years, but I had always ended up prioritising other essays to read. A gripping and compelling essay that should be mandatory for understanding the importance of inters 3.75 ★★★★☆ «’Woman’ was the test, but not every woman seemed to qualify. Black women, of course, were virtually invisible within the protracted campaign for woman suffrage.» Review in English | Reseña en español (abajo) Women, Race & Class by Angela Davis is nowadays a classic feminist essay that had been on my wish-list for some years, but I had always ended up prioritising other essays to read. A gripping and compelling essay that should be mandatory for understanding the importance of intersectionality, I wish I had read it earlier to get the most out of it as I already knew some of the feminist movement’s history in the United States. Davis charts the history of racial, class and gender oppression in the United States within the suffrage movement and hegemonic (white) feminism concisely and straightforwardly through thirteen chapters (in a radical gesture to the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime) that span from the linked origin between the Anti-Slavery Movement and Women’s Rights campaigns to Working-Class Women, the Myth of the Black Rapist, or the Reproductive Rights. I loved how the author examined feminism focused on how the movement fell short on meeting the needs of women who had other marginalised identities. «(…) white women who did not challenge the institution of slavery bore a heavy responsibility for its inhumanity.» Although some sections are, fortunately, dated (this essay was first published in 1981), Women, Race & Class’ topics unfortunately still apply to today, where the feminist movement still usually devalues those who are not white, cisgender or middle class, among other pre-requisites of the yet hegemonic white feminism –if you want to read further about these questions, I would also recommend you Feminism for the 99%. «Of the eight million women in the labor force during the first decade of the twentieth century, more than two million were Black. As women who suffered the combined disabilities of sex, class ad race, they possessed a powerful argument for the right to vote.» I liked how Davis brings forwards a wide range of historical and feminist topics such as how the anti-rape movement excluded black women, how the reproductive rights lead to the forced sterilisation of black women, and also the implications of capitalism depreciating women’s work; but I wished these themes had been better structured as a whole: the chapters read more like disjointed essays arranged chronologically, with no conclusion and an abrupt final. All in all, Women, Race & Class is a demanding and sometimes dense historic overview of the feminist movement in the US, but everyone (and especially white feminists) should read it at least once. As I said at the opening of my review, I wish I had read it earlier to have been entirely mesmerised by Davis’ discourse. A classic essay to highlight, annotate and read more than once. «Black women were equal to their men in the oppression they suffered; they were their men's social equals within the slave community; and they resisted slavery with a passion equal to their men's. This was one of the greatest ironies of the slave system, for in subjecting women to the most ruthless exploitation conceivable, exploitation which knew no sex distinctions, the groundwork was created not only for Black women to assert their equality through social relations, but also to express it through their acts of resistance» - - - - Mujeres, raza y clase de Angela Davis es hoy en día un ensayo feminista clásico que había estado en mi lista de deseos durante algunos años, pero siempre había terminado priorizando otros ensayos para leer. Un ensayo apasionante y convincente que debería ser obligatorio para comprender la importancia de la interseccionalidad y que ojalá hubiera leído antes para "sacarle el jugo” al máximo, ya que ya conocía parte de la historia del movimiento feminista en los Estados Unidos. Davis traza la historia de la opresión racial, de clase y de género en los Estados Unidos dentro del movimiento sufragista y el feminismo hegemónico (blanco) de manera concisa y directa a través de trece capítulos (en un guiño radical a la Decimotercera Enmienda a la Constitución de los Estados Unidos, que abolió la esclavitud y la servidumbre involuntaria, excepto como castigo por un crimen) que se extiende desde el origen conjunto entre la lucha contra la esclavitud y las campañas por los derechos de la mujer, a las mujeres de clase trabajadora, el Mito del Violador Negro o los Derechos Reproductivos. Una de las cosas que más me llamaron la atención es cómo la autora examina la historia del feminismo centrándose en por qué este movimiento no pudo satisfacer las necesidades de las mujeres que tenían otras identidades marginadas. Aunque algunas secciones están, afortunadamente, algo anticuadas (este ensayo se publicó por primera vez en 1981), los temas de Mujeres, raza y clase lamentablemente todavía se aplican hoy en día, donde el movimiento feminista todavía suele devaluar a quienes no son blancos, cisgénero, o de clase media, entre otros “prerrequisitos” del feminismo blanco aún hegemónico –si queréis leer más sobre estas cuestiones, también os recomiendo sin duda Feminism for the 99%. Me gustó cómo Davis presenta una amplia gama de temas históricos y feministas –cómo el movimiento contra la violación excluyó a las mujeres negras, cómo los derechos reproductivos condujeron a la esterilización forzada de mujeres racializadas y también las implicaciones que tuvo el capitalismo en depreciar el trabajo de las mujeres–; pero me hubiera gustado que estos temas estuvieran mejor estructurados en su conjunto: los capítulos se leen más como ensayos inconexos ordenados cronológicamente, sin conclusión y con un final un tanto abrupto. Para resumir, Mujeres, raza y clase es una lectura exigente y, a veces, densa, que aporta una visión general del movimiento feminista en los Estados Unidos, y que todos (y especialmente las feministas blancas) deberían leerla al menos una vez. Como dije al inicio de mi reseña, desearía haberlo leído antes porque seguramente me hubiese aportado muchísimo más de lo que me ha aportado (que no es poco). Un ensayo clásico para subrayar, anotar y leer más de una vez.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nikita T. Mitchell

    A few months ago I started on a quest to educate myself about feminism, especially as it relates to black women. As a result, my GoodReads queue has become filled with books on beauty, books written by authors like Alice Walker and even couple books on hip-hop feminism. I've recently been introduced to authors like Bell Hooks, and I'm constantly learning of others to add to my list. As with my general fascination with learning, the more I read the more I realize I don't know and want to find out A few months ago I started on a quest to educate myself about feminism, especially as it relates to black women. As a result, my GoodReads queue has become filled with books on beauty, books written by authors like Alice Walker and even couple books on hip-hop feminism. I've recently been introduced to authors like Bell Hooks, and I'm constantly learning of others to add to my list. As with my general fascination with learning, the more I read the more I realize I don't know and want to find out. [Insert fascination with Angela Davis' books.:] Need I say more about why I chose to start with this particular one? Written in 1983, Women, Race & Class takes a serious look at the intersection of feminism and racism in America. In this collection of writings, Angela Davis touches on a range of topics that point to the struggles of the Black woman fighting to fight for equality in a movement that fails to include her. It starts with a telling and often gruesome discussion on the female slave, detailing the laborious expectations on the field coupled with her complex role in the home (slave quarters). She even goes into the brutal punishments regularly inflicted - from the abuse experienced by pregnant women to the brutal rapes at the hands of white men. This, for me, was the hardest part of the book to read because of the raw brutality illustrated. The subsequent essays delve into the history of the women’s movement and the influence of African-Americans, most notably the likes of Fredrick Douglas, Sojourner Truth and Ida B. Wells. As the book progresses Davis articulates the various issues that were used to ostracize black women from the overall women’s rights movement since the late nineteenth century. Whether it was excluding black women to gain support from the South for women’s suffrage or ignoring issues of forced sterilizations when it came to reproductive rights, there has always been an unfortunate division in the movement that ultimately and consistently left the needs of Black women unaddressed. With Women, Race & Class, Davis brings these issues – and more – to light with the message of unity for the benefit of everyone in the fight for equality. It's definitely a must read, especially for young black women like myself. Favorite Quotes: "Evidence of the accumulated strengths Black women have forged through work, work and more work can be discovered in the contributions of the many outstanding female leaders who have emerged within the Black community. Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida Wells and Rosa Parks are not exceptional Black women as much as they are epitomes of Black womanhood." (231) "...if wives and husbands alternatively gave birth to their children, '...no family would ever have more than three, the husband bearing one and the wife two.'" (207) Re: Lucy Parsons: "That woman is more feared than a thousand rioters." (153)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    This is one of the best histories of the feminist movement I've ever read. Most such histories have limited their scope to a particular issue (e.g., reproductive rights, suffrage, housework) and to a particular constituency (women of a particular race or class), but Davis masterfully brings together issues of reproductive rights (not just abortion but also forced sterilization), suffrage (for women and for black people), housework, equal pay for equal work, lynching, rape, and even more, all whi This is one of the best histories of the feminist movement I've ever read. Most such histories have limited their scope to a particular issue (e.g., reproductive rights, suffrage, housework) and to a particular constituency (women of a particular race or class), but Davis masterfully brings together issues of reproductive rights (not just abortion but also forced sterilization), suffrage (for women and for black people), housework, equal pay for equal work, lynching, rape, and even more, all while simultaneously maintaining a breadth of scope that includes women across race and class lines and a depth of focus anchored in detailed research that takes the reader far beyond sweeping statements about a period or a group and into individual lives and relationships in the context of a larger history. I know of nothing before Davis's book that has this level of detailed research, emotional weight, breadth of scope, and depth of focus. I can only hope to find another book that is comparable as I continue to study feminist theory.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Miri

    I can't believe how readable this book is, considering how dense it also is in historical detail. The research that went into it must be astounding, but it flows in most places like a conversation with a (really well-informed) friend. Along with many subjects I am familiar with, I was absolutely fascinated by all the socialist ideas I've never heard before. I have paaaaaages of notes that I'll have to add later. I can't believe how readable this book is, considering how dense it also is in historical detail. The research that went into it must be astounding, but it flows in most places like a conversation with a (really well-informed) friend. Along with many subjects I am familiar with, I was absolutely fascinated by all the socialist ideas I've never heard before. I have paaaaaages of notes that I'll have to add later.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    A must read, especially for white feminists. It's incredibly comprehensive and her writing is engaging and accessible. It's also frustratingly timely, as so many of the issues brought up within the book are still issues our social justice movements face today. A must read, especially for white feminists. It's incredibly comprehensive and her writing is engaging and accessible. It's also frustratingly timely, as so many of the issues brought up within the book are still issues our social justice movements face today.

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