Winner of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction The Combahee River Collective, a path-breaking group of radical black feminists, was one of the most important organizations to develop out of the antiracist and women's liberation movements of the 1960s and 70s. In this collection of essays and interviews edited by activist-scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, founding members of the organization and contemporary activists reflect on the legacy of its contributions to Black feminism and its impact on today's struggles. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States. Her bookFrom #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation won the 2016 Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book. Her articles have been published inSouls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, Jacobin, New Politics, The Guardian, In These Times, Black Agenda Report, Ms., International Socialist Review, and other publications. Taylor is Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University.
I am an old feminist, most definitely placed squarely within the later part of the second wave. I was a Women's Studies minor in the 80's. and read some about the Combahee Collective at the time, but honestly not a ton, so much of this was revelatory. The interviews with the three founders were unending genius. Barbara Smith, Beverly Smith, and Demita Frazier are spectacularly wise. I learned so much from listening to their interviews. Though I support BLM, I am not a fan of Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and my opinion of her after reading this book has not really improved much, she is sloppy as an academic, and to the extent she has a philosophy guiding her actions it is a philosophy that favors toppling over building. Tear that shit down is not reasoned or productive political discourse. Her anti-semitic rant at the end did not help. (You can support the interests of the Palestinian people without being an anti-semite, I am a person who does that -- Taylor does not.) For the most part this was amazing, and I tore through the audiobook. I recommend it absolutely,.