Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought

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The New Press, 1995 - Social Science - 577 pages
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The timeless and essential anthology of Black Feminist thought--showing that Black women have always understood the need for feminism to be intersectional

"In this pathbreaking collection of articles, Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall has taken us from the early 1830s to contemporary times. . . . She has refused to cut off contemporary African American women from the long line of sisters who have righteously struggled for the liberation of African American women from the dual oppressions of racism and sexism." --from the epilogue by Johnnetta B. Cole

The first major anthology to trace the development of Black Feminist thought in the United States, Words of Fire is Beverly Guy-Sheftall's comprehensive collection of writings by more than sixty Black women. From the pioneering work of abolitionist Maria Miller Stewart and anti-lynching crusader Ida Wells-Barnett to the writings of feminist critics Michele Wallace and bell hooks, Black women have been writing about the multiple jeopardies--racism, sexism, and classism--that have made it imperative to forge a brand of feminism uniquely their own. In the words of Audre Lorde, "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house"--Words of Fire provides the tools to dismantle the interlocking systems that oppress us and to rebuild from their ashes a society of true freedom.

Contributors include:

  • Shirley Chisholm
  • The Combahee River Collective
  • Anna Julia Cooper
  • Angela Davis
  • Alice Dunbar-Nelson
  • Lorraine Hansberry
  • bell hooks
  • Claudia Jones
  • June Jordan
  • Audre Lorde
  • Beth E. Richie
  • Barbara Smith
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Alice Walker
  • Michele Wallace
  • Ida Wells-Barnett


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Every school should read this book.


In Defense of Our Race and Sex 18311900
Defining Black Womanhood 19201957
RacialSexual Politics in the Angry Decades
BLack Women Claiming Feminism
Sexuality Violence and Reproduction
6 Reading the Academy
Interrogating Mainstream Feminism and Black Nationalism
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (1995)

Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of English and Women's Studies at Spelman College and the founding director of the Women's Research & Resource Center. She is also one of the founding co-editors of Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women. Her previous publications include Who Should Be First?: Feminists Speak Out on the 2008 Presidential Campaign (co-edited with Johnnetta B. Cole) and Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women's Studies (co-edited with Frances Smith Foster and Stanlie M. James).

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