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Women, Race, and Class

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  6,586 Ratings  ·  206 Reviews
A powerful study of the women's movement in the U.S. from abolitionist days to the present that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 12th 1983 by Vintage (first published 1981)
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ONTD Feminism
LJ user gingersomething:

I really think this should be required reading for middle class white feminists struggling to comprehend intersectionality. Although, judging from that first goodreads review, maybe some are just beyond reach.
Ralowe Ampu
Sep 22, 2013 Ralowe Ampu rated it it was amazing
if you're ready to graduate from just holding intersectional complexity to doing justice along every axes of that intersection in due measure, then you should read these essays; that is, if you haven't already. i hate the shame that accompanies the canon when you're finally getting around to something that should be elemental. maybe i should let go of the shame. what's shameful is that if we're going under the assumption that this text is so widely read and familiar on such a scale then why are ...more
Jessica
Apr 24, 2016 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I give this book 4.5 stars which rounds up to 5.

I read this book for my Women in Politics class.

This book's central focus is intersectional feminism. It highlights how gender, race, and class factor into inequality. This book started off incredibly strong, but lost its way a bit in the later chapters. However, still a fantastic and insightful book.
Andrea
Feb 10, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it
Shelves: democracy, race, gender
An important work marking the intersections of class, race and gender...and all the history behind people you've vaguely looked up to because no one ever talks about the way they really felt about Black people. So you can respect some of what they've done, but Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger are forever debarred from my cannon of heroes.

In criticising the 14th and 15th amendments, Stanton and Anthony descended into a horrifying racism, and I believe Davis is right wh
...more
Sarah
Jul 28, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I adore this book. It is one of those books that blew apart the white middle class way I was raised, and it made me a smarter and better person. Her ideas are so powerful that they deserve to be read and reread.
Gabriela Ventura
Feb 18, 2017 Gabriela Ventura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminismo, ensaio
Angela Davis é um daqueles mitos que eu admirava à distância e lia transversalmente, na obra de tantos que foram influenciados por ela.

Quando a Boitempo publicou a primeira tradução brasileira de Mulheres, raça e classe, no fim do ano passado, comprei de pronto o ebook, mas senti que precisava de tempo para me dedicar a ele; adiei a leitura para as férias.

Tendo concluído agora o último ensaio do livro, só consigo pensar em como Mulheres, raça e classe é uma obra fundamental para todo mundo, e d
...more
J.P.
Aug 10, 2014 J.P. rated it really liked it
I loved this book! I learned a lot from this book that I think I would not have learned otherwise. She details the roles of Black women in the black community from slavery up through the modern era. The role of black women as equals to their men in regards to work during the time of slavery which is contrasted with the role of free white women in society at the time. Details of how class & race lines affected black women are detailed as well, the things they endured & what they would do ...more
Nikita T. Mitchell
A few months ago I started on a quest to educate myself about feminism, especially as it relates to black women. As a result, my GoodReads queue has become filled with books on beauty, books written by authors like Alice Walker and even couple books on hip-hop feminism. I've recently been introduced to authors like Bell Hooks, and I'm constantly learning of others to add to my list. As with my general fascination with learning, the more I read the more I realize I don't know and want to find out ...more
Leah
Aug 21, 2014 Leah rated it it was amazing
I remember borrowing this book from the public library on Fordham Road when I was 15....it was the first book I ever took out and I never returned it. I poured over its pages. This turned me on to feminist research and critical theory in a way I can't full express. At 15 I knew the life of the mind was for me....which is crazy...
I've since donated a new copy....but I didn't explain to the librarians the circumstances of my donation.
Irn
Apr 30, 2007 Irn rated it it was amazing
Angela Davis is pretty awesome. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it, and it’s basically a historical examination of the intersection of struggles against sexism, racism, and classism. Or, more accurately, against slavery and lynching, against capitalism, and for woman suffrage and reproductive freedom. I think it’s interesting how Davis, at this point in time at least, certainly saw socialism (rooted in anti-racism and anti-sexism) as the answer to capitalist oppression. I really l ...more
Miri
I can't believe how readable this book is, considering how dense it also is in historical detail. The research that went into it must be astounding, but it flows in most places like a conversation with a really well-informed friend. Along with many subjects I am familiar with, I was absolutely fascinated by all the socialist ideas I've never heard before. I have paaaaaages of notes that I'll have to add later.
Mykie
Why I read this book:
Angela Davis is a pioneer in terms of black liberation and gender equality. I have always admired and appreciated her writing and her being.

Content: 1/1
It’s important for readers to understand that this is not just a book about women, race and class. It is actually a study (and the contents reflect this) that digs into the racism that continues to take place in movements associated with women, race and class. It’s a very valid, legitimate and important study. I would have a
...more
Kathrina
Masterful overview of America's women's movement from pre-Civil War to the end of the 1970's, especially concerning the experiences and oppressions of Black women and girls. You likely didn't learn this stuff in school. My only gripe is that Davis assumes we understand her vision of socialism and references her view without much explication. Perhaps this was easier for her contemporary readers, but readers in 2016 could benefit from some additional context.

Angela Davis will be speaking on the U
...more
Iria
Dec 30, 2016 Iria rated it it was amazing
Oxalá se lera nos institutos.
Carolina
Jan 18, 2017 Carolina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Livro absolutamente necessário para entender a importância da interseccionalidade para a discussão de problemas e políticas públicas. O texto de Davis é interseccional em sua escrita, o que facilita muito a leitura. Os temas trabalhados são profundos e muito relevantes. Recomendo a leitura a todas as pessoas!
Rebekka Steg
May 13, 2012 Rebekka Steg rated it it was amazing
Although first published in 1982, almost 30 years ago (the edition I read was published in 2002, but as far as I understand it is just a reprint, and no changes have been made), the book sadly remains just as relevant and important today. I say sadly, because Women, Race & Class shows how deeply rooted sexism and racism is in our current society, and the book might as easily have been written today, because the issues we face are pretty much identical.

In this book Davis eloquently shows how
...more
Aubrey
Jan 27, 2013 Aubrey rated it it was amazing
Women, Race & Class is a phenomenal book and great introduction to the issues of racism and classism in the feminist movement.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in race or gender issues, but who doesn't know where to begin.

Davis' book is a great starter for anyone interested in the history of the women's movement. The book begins with slavery and the abolitionist movement and moves into the women's suffrage movement, the fight for reproductive rights, labor struggles, housework and
...more
Christy
This is one of the best histories of the feminist movement I've ever read. Most such histories have limited their scope to a particular issue (e.g., reproductive rights, suffrage, housework) and to a particular constituency (women of a particular race or class), but Davis masterfully brings together issues of reproductive rights (not just abortion but also forced sterilization), suffrage (for women and for black people), housework, equal pay for equal work, lynching, rape, and even more, all whi ...more
Anna
Feb 11, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it
I disagreed on a lot of things in the last chapter but most of my reasons are because of recent changes and this book was published in the 80s (some of it may also be because I live/have grown up in Europe?)

Anyway this was a really good walk through the struggle for women's emancipation during history in the US, although I feel the need to remind people that socialism =/= communism.
Alessandra JJ
Nov 09, 2016 Alessandra JJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uma leitura essencial para esses tempos.
Sara
Mar 05, 2017 Sara added it
Have not read Davis since college so figured if ever there was a time to revisit, it was now. This was a distinctly painful and difficult read for a lot of reasons. Not merely the litany of indignities and violence that black women (and men) endured but to confront the racism exhibited by so many of our feminist heroes. I am still immensely proud of the work Stanton, Anthony, et al. did to gain women the vote, but it was disheartening to learn what the costs were for so many others. The essays t ...more
Anita
Jun 02, 2017 Anita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth cady Stanton was a real dbag about race and Margaret Sanger went eugenicist in the end
Kris
Apr 28, 2017 Kris rated it really liked it
This book is older than I am, so if you're looking for a recent history of feminism and the importance of intersectionality, this isn't it. But it IS a good look at American feminism up until the late 1970s/early 1980s. It's also fascinating (and a bit terrifying) to see the patterns and parallels between then and now.

Some of the other participants in my reading group found this to be packed a little densely. I'm not sure I'd describe it as "dense" myself, but would agree that this book IS chock
...more
tom bomp
Apr 23, 2017 tom bomp rated it it was amazing
A good summary history of the ways the 3 topics in the title have intersected in American history - their struggles and the conflicts between them (predominantly focusing on gender and race). Of course it doesn't cover everything or in deep detail but it's written in a very clear, easy to read style with minimal jargon that gives an excellent introduction to the problems faced by eg black women in the suffrage movement. It's definitely really interesting and has lots of new stuff even if you're ...more
Women's National Book Association of New Orleans
The Women's National Book Association sent this book to the White House today (March 13) in honor of Women's History Month: https://www.wnba-centennial.org/book-...

From the Women's National Book Association's press release:

In this ground-breaking and provocative book on the history of feminism, Angela Davis weaves a clear-eyed analysis of classism and racism into the historical narrative of women’s rights. Starting with first-wave feminism—the struggle for women’s suffrage starting in the mid-18
...more
Benjamin
Feb 22, 2017 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Wow. I thought this would be kind of dated or something but unfortunately it isn't. Anyway a lot of it is history, from slavery and reconstruction, through the "first wave" and the suffragettes, on up to the 1970s. It's just great to see all three forms of domination (or whatever you want to call the big three of gender, "race," and class) given such equal measure. I had thought Davis would be all Marxian and try to prove that class is the alpha and omega but she's too clever for that. She also ...more
Benjamin Irvin Paul
Feb 12, 2017 Benjamin Irvin Paul rated it it was amazing
I wish I had read this earlier. I hear people say this book is "about" intersectional feminism. I think a more compelling way to describe it is as a history book. Don't know much about racism in the woman suffrage movement? Here's an essay for you. Don't know much about communist women in US history? There's an essay about them. And so on. It's just stories about US history told by somebody who will actually point out when oppression happened, even by people on the "right side". The essays taken ...more
tamarack
Nov 12, 2007 tamarack rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
angela davis blows me away every time. reading her autobiography sent me searching for more, and after a fruitless search at the local library i bought this book for about a tenner. i don't/can't normally read books with titles like this one, so i really amazed how compelling this book is. each chapter has me furtively scribbling notes so i might pass on some of this wealth of knowledge and insight to my friends. unfortunately i lost those notes(!) so i'll have to condense it like this: women, r ...more
Natalie
Aug 27, 2010 Natalie rated it really liked it
Overall, very informative, and Davis is an excellent writer.

I really loved the opening chapter of this book and how Davis points out the contributions of Black women, particularly under slavery, in redefining womanhood.

There were sections of the book that were so intense and troubling, I couldn't read more than a few pages at a time. The section on rape, and the myth of the Black rapist, was such a chapter - incredibly important, and utterly devastating.

Elements of the book were a little dated
...more
Ayanna Dozier
Dec 11, 2015 Ayanna Dozier rated it it was amazing
Once again, I am baffled that I was not given this text to read in my graduate or undergraduate feminist theory or methods course. Davis' text is basically a feminist handbook of the history of feminism as it pertains to the United States. What Davis' text reveals is that feminism has always been closely aligned with the liberation of Black women and furthermore the liberation of the enslaved. Davis details the text, speeches, and performances by abolitionists who fought for (and founded) the su ...more
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Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, scholar, and author. She emerged as a nationally prominent activist and radical in the 1960s, as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement despite never being an official member of the party. Prisoner rights have been among her continuing inter ...more
More about Angela Y. Davis...

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“If Black people had simply accepted a status of economic and political inferiority, the mob murders would probably have subsided. But because vast numbers of ex-slaves refused to discard their dreams of progress, more than ten thousand lynchings occurred during the three decades following the war.” 5 likes
“Woman” was the test, but not every woman seemed to qualify. Black women, of course, were virtually invisible within the protracted campaign for woman suffrage. As for white working-class women, the suffrage leaders were probably impressed at first by the organizing efforts and militancy of their working-class sisters. But as it turned out, the working women themselves did not enthusiastically embrace the cause of woman suffrage.” 5 likes
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