Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America” as Want to Read:
When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  1,535 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
When and Where I Enter is an eloquent testimonial to the profound influence of African-American women on race and women's movements throughout American history. Drawing on speeches, diaries, letters, and other original documents, Paula Giddings powerfully portrays how black women have transcended racist and sexist attitudes--often confronting white feminists and black male ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 27th 2007 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1984)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about When and Where I Enter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about When and Where I Enter

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Khemauset Ankh
Oct 31, 2011 Khemauset Ankh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When and Where I Enter is a very informative book. Another story history doesn't tell in the mainstream. Black women weren't just collectively sitting around twittling their thumbs. We were doing it even while we raised other people's children, picked cotton and cooked dinner-our own and those other people's.

Raise hell Ida B.
Get that train to going Harriet
Go head on Anna Julia Cooper!
Sourjourner, honey chile, yes you is a woman!

We were, we are and we will forever be

You old hominid Eve mother who
Jan 29, 2015 Cam rated it really liked it
This..taught me alot. Like holy shit, I never heard of 90% of the women mentioned in this book and this is despite how enormous steps they've taken, the sacrifices they made and battles they fought. Goddamn, it took me a while to get through it, but I am glad I did.

Black women truly were the backbone, the driving force of progress in the US. Endless respect for that. I want these women taught in history and social science curriculums. It's important! I'm not American but it baffles me that wome
Aug 30, 2012 Naima rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I've ever read. So informative and so inspiring! This book spans from the 18th Century to the 1980s and follows different Black Liberation Movements. I recommend it for all!
When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America, is a informational text which gives insight into the lives of African Americans during the 19th and 20th century. Paula Giddings writes about the historical events that shaped the lives of Ida B. Wells and Marry Church Terrell. When and Where I Enter shed light on different experience these women endured that eventually led to monumental changes in African American history. Giddings also writes about the dynamics of th ...more
Sep 15, 2016 Jocelyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: race
The whole book is compelling and illuminating, but the chapters on the Moynihan Report and the failure of Shirley Chisolm's presidential campaign and the ERA are worth the price of admission alone.
Jan 06, 2011 Allison rated it it was amazing
A very insightful look at the intersection between race and gender, called intersectionality. Anyone looking at studying feminism needs to look at this ground breaking work on intersectionality.
Nov 24, 2015 blakeR rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I came to this book from a recent list of must-reads given by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and I'm glad to have been enlightened on the subject. From the title I was expecting more of a philosophical discussion, so I was surprised to encounter basically a straight history of the role of Black women in the struggle for racial and gender equality since the end of the Civil War. A good summary occurs at the beginning of the last chapter:
. . . At the turn of the century, Black women initiated social reform in
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Jan 02, 2012 Randie D. Camp, M.S. rated it really liked it
Paula Giddings’ book, When and Where I Enter, has been accepted and praised by several organizations, Black intellectuals, and feminists. The Women's Review of Books calls Giddings’ work “the best interpretation of black women and race and sex that we have."

In chapter six, “‘To Be a Woman, Sublime’: The Ideas of the National Black Women’s Club Movement (to 1917),” Giddings shares with us the history of the Black women’s movement and their views on a number of issues. Giddings also introduces us
Jun 13, 2014 Carla rated it really liked it
Shelves: sj-issues
Fantastic, should be required reading in high schools. And this topic would be a valuable part of any college education. (Although discussion of the oppression faced and accomplishments made by lgbtqia+/disabled/etc black women is glaringly absent.) I shouldn't be just learning these things in my late twenties. It's time US society woke up and acknowledged the most monumental changes in its history weren't made by white men.
Jul 28, 2010 Kijan rated it really liked it
I can't say enough about this text. I read this as an undergrad and learned SO MUCH about the impact of race on the women's liberation/feminist movement. Giddings does a sufficiently thorough job of laying out these considerations through the lives of two key women who were engaged in the struggle.
Nov 12, 2016 Lindsey rated it really liked it
After a long break from this, I finally decided to finish it, and I'm glad I did, as it was rather informative. The bit on Booker T. Washington was interesting, as you don't hear much negative commentary on him in general history notes.
May 21, 2016 Monique rated it it was amazing
Shelves: phd-stuff
Paula J. Giddings is Professor in Afro-American Studies at Smith College. Her research interest are African American issues, feminism, and historical research. Giddings is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

This powerful historical narrative is based on years of research and draws from speeches, diaries, letters, and other original documents from African American women. Giddings offers this testimonial to trace the influences of African American women on racism, sexism, and classism througho
Nov 01, 2014 Beverlee rated it it was amazing
This is definite must read! When & Where I Enter is a comprehensive account of the impact race & gender play in African American women's lives. Some things that are particularly compelling are 1- the act of resistance in slavery. For whatever reason, it is assumed that enslaved people didn't rebel against their forced servitude. Giddings outlines several accounts of black women fighting, by acts that resulted in murder or by suing for freedom in the court. This is why "slaves movies" are ...more
Oct 20, 2007 Marjorie.harris rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sistas Of All Hues
In a technological age where we are inundated with self-help, self-analysis and self-assessment products, it is so much more helpful to read a perspective that shows African-American women where we fit outside of ourselves. That is, in the greater part of society - based on the sacrifices made by powerful women of color years before our existence. Professor Giddings is on the mark. Do you have any questions about your place at the voting booth... your university... in your profession? This book ...more
Mar 22, 2007 Marcelle rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: social sciences buffs
This is a pretty comprehensive book that chronicles the history of black women from the time of anti-lynching campaigns to the 80's. The writing is very readable, but there are quite a few historical excerpts, dates, etc. so it's not exactly easy reading. Still, I thought the book was well worth the read and it gives ink to many black women/movements that do not get much recognition elsewhere, and elaborates on the division within "black" movements and "women's movements" and how black women hav ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Kim rated it it was amazing
I read this book with my book club. It was outstanding to put together so many pieces of our history and our impact in America. I remember reading this book when it first came out many years ago - but experience and the current tensions in this country, make me understand and thirst for more accurate histories like this one.
Jan 01, 2017 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jan17, 2017
I absolutely loved When and Where I Enter. I've had this book for a while and I'm glad I finally picked it back up. Giddings gives an extensive history on black women in America starting from slavery until the 1980's. I learned some names and historical events that I wasn't aware of before. Great read.
Feb 23, 2015 shera rated it it was amazing
This was assigned in my Women in Politics class and I loved it! I learned a tremendous amount from this book and have recommended it multiple times already. I have no doubt that I will revisit the text in the future. For anyone wanting to learn about race relations, black history, southern history, politics, or feminism, it's a must-read!
Jun 16, 2013 C.E. rated it really liked it
Had to read this during my sophomore year in college. As a woman of color, it helped me not only learn about African American women's place and its evolution in U.S. history, but how it shapes views of myself and of other women as a whole.
Nov 12, 2011 Cydney is currently reading it
Re-reading one of my favorite sociopolitical accounts of African American Women's contributions to American history from a feminist perspective. I've got my eye on Sister Citizen, but wanted to warm up with this one first.
Jenny Robertson
Jan 05, 2008 Jenny Robertson rated it really liked it
I first read this book in the 1980s. And from time to time, I refer back to it. It is still one of the best written histories on the social and political impact made by black women in the civil rights and feminist movements.
Clarissa Morrison
Apr 16, 2016 Clarissa Morrison rated it really liked it
Eloquent arguments about gender dynamics and feminism. Gidding's has a voice that isn't trite which is why I enjoyed this book so much. Also enjoyed her other works on black body politics. Highly recommend.
Oct 19, 2009 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: for-school
Incredibly helpful discussion of African-American women throughout American history and how their history interacts with that of white women. This helped me understand the overarching historical narrative much more than I had before.
May 30, 2013 Rena rated it really liked it
This is a must have reference book for those seeking historical perspective on Black Women throughout the history of the antebellum south and beyond.
Dec 31, 2016 Tylynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Kareema Perkins
Oct 19, 2012 Kareema Perkins rated it it was amazing
I had an opportunity to meet Ms. Giddings in college. I will be forever in her debt for introducing me to such a comprehensive collection of the history of Black Women in American history.
Jun 24, 2012 Heidi rated it really liked it
Excellent book - read in college at PSU for a Women's History class.
Dec 31, 2009 Leslie rated it it was amazing
This reads like a history book which may not be exciting for some. I had an opportunity to meet Ms Giddings and listen to her lecture while in college; she was great!
Jun 14, 2009 Kim added it
Also read this one in undergrad. mainly talks about Black Feminisim.
Kathy Williams
Nov 28, 2013 Kathy Williams marked it as to-read
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought
  • But Some Of Us Are Brave: All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men: Black Women's Studies
  • Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman
  • Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement
  • Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism (PB)
  • Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology
  • Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty
  • Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America
  • When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down
  • Women, Culture, and Politics
  • Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black
  • Black Women in White America: A Documentary History
  • Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism
  • To 'Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women's Lives and Labors After the Civil War
  • Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980
  • A Voice from the South
  • Some of Us Did Not Die: New and Selected Essays
  • White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness
Paula Giddings (born 1947 in Yonkers, New York) is a writer and an African-American historian. She is the author of When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America and In Search of Sisterhood. She is a professor of African-American Studies at Smith College and has previously taught at Spelman College, where she was a United Negro Fund Distinguished Scholar and Douglass ...more
More about Paula J. Giddings...

Share This Book

“One of the lesser-known contributions of the great Harriet Tubman was the devotion of her life after the war to a similar project. The woman who personally led three hundred slaves to freedom, who was a spy and “general” for the Union, spent her final years trying to establish the John Brown Home for the Aged. When the government refused to give her a full veteran’s pension, the former general sold fruit and had a biography published to raise money for the institution.” 2 likes
“Sojourner Truth, who squelched the heckler with an oft-quoted speech. In the first place, she said, Jesus came from “God and a woman—man had nothing to do with it.”66 Secondly, Truth asserted that women were not inherently weak and helpless. Raising herself to her full height of six feet, flexing a muscled arm, and bellowing with a voice one observer likened to the apocalyptic thunders, Truth informed the audience that she could outwork, outeat, and outlast any man. Then she challenged: “Ain’t I a woman?”67” 0 likes
More quotes…