From Suffragists to Pink Pussyhats: In Search of Intersectional Solidarity

From Suffragists to Pink Pussyhats: In Search of Intersectional Solidarity

By Chaya Crowder, Princeton University and Candis Watts Smith, Pennsylvania State University

The 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment is an opportunity to reflect on the role of women in American politics. The tools of intersectionality allow scholars to pinpoint the progress and pitfalls produced by ongoing modes of sexism and patriarchy as well as racism and classism. It is now well known that major movements for the rights of American women have not always addressed the issues specific to black women (Simien 2006). Indeed, in 1851, Sojourner Truth discussed this issue of not being included in conversations about women’s rights (or civil rights for blacks) in her alleged “Ain’t I a Woman” speech. Similarly, the fact that Ida B. Wells and other black women were told to process at the back of the 1913 Women’s March on Washington is another illustration of the historical exclusion of black women by their white counterparts (Boissoneault 2017). Decades later and even after the 1965 Voting Rights Act enforced black women’s enfranchisement, the Combahee River Collective (1977) noted the exclusion of issues that affect black women by both 1970s white feminist movements and male-dominated anti-racist movements.

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