How we get free : black feminism and the Combahee River Collective

by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Other authorsBarbara Smith (Contributor.), Barbara Ransby (Contributor.), Beverly Smith (Contributor.), Alicia Garza (Contributor.), Demita Frazier (Contributor.)
Paper Book, 2017


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.



Call number



Chicago, IL : Haymarket Books, [2017]

User reviews

LibraryThing member Narshkite
American's are loathe to place things into historical context, to reflect on past experience, to learn, and to move forward. Rather we burn things down and start from zero all the time. It is frustrating and infuriating, and as much as I would like to lay this behavior at the feet of the radical
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anarchist in the White House and his merry band of self-dealing lackeys it is something that is routinely done by the left, the center, and those at every point in between those spots on the spectrum. One movement that has been most guilty of this is feminism. Third wave feminists reject second-wave feminism out of hand as just a bunch of bitter women who want to stop them from getting laid and wearing cute shorts. This book, a collection of interviews by and between current black feminist socialist activists and the founders of the Combahee River Collective, contextualizes current definitions of feminism, gender and sexuality, and to a lesser extent the modern American spin on socialism. This is where intersectionality comes from, and the discussion is really satisfying.

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,.
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LibraryThing member KallieGrace
This is so interesting, how a group of black, some queer, women got together in a black feminists movement. What that intersection of identity means to them, what identity politics means to them, the faults with white feminism or anti-racism that isn't also feminist. This book is largely
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conversational, with each member being asked the same questions and then their replies, so audio was a great way to consume this - it felt like a radio program.
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Original publication date



1608468550 / 9781608468553
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