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

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,958 ratings  ·  50 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 May 1st 1984)
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Jan 29, 2015 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
Khemauset Ankh
Oct 31, 2011 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
Aug 30, 2012 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!
Sep 15, 2016 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.
Stacie C
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, black-authors
Everything has a historical context. Its important to understand and recognize that fact. All of the movements were seeing today have a historical context. Well take the Womens March for example. There was quite a bit of criticism leveled at the Womens March because of its approach to intersectional feminism and what that would mean moving forward. Those criticisms were valid and rooted in the history of womens movements. This book is a comprehensive look at Black womens participation in ...more
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 ...more
Jan 06, 2011 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 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 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 Womens Club Movement (to 1917), Giddings shares with us the history of the Black womens movement and their views on a number of issues. Giddings also introduces us to
Oct 20, 2007 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
Kar Schmidt Holloway
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sj-issues, race, feminist
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.
Jan 09, 2016 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.
Jul 28, 2010 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.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really like a 4.5 due to the limitations of being written in 1984, but still.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
SO GOOD. If you care about feminism at all, read this immediately.
May 21, 2016 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
Nov 01, 2014 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
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
2017 Reading Challenge - A book recommended by an author you love (Patricia Hill-Collins)

I've read excerpts of this book for research purposes in the past. This was the first time I'd read it from front to back. Giddings is not only a thorough historian, she is a phenomenal writer, making this a engrossing read. The history covered begins with the abolitionist movement, quickly leading into the suffragette movement and goes up through the early eighties. Giddings lays out how patterns of
Markeshia Ricks
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've started and stopped this book a number of times since I bought it in 2014. This year, for Women's History Month, I determined to read it. And it is so good and so relevant for this historic moment of tension where the fight against systemic anti-black racism and for women's rights is back on the agenda. This book rightly ties the work and the roles that black women have always played to where they have always been -- at the center of it all. Black women are the links that hold the chains of ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for the first time when I entered Spelman College and I have never been the same. To say that this book helped define my view of race, class and sex in America is an understatement. I had to purchase a new copy because my original copy from 1987 was falling apart.

Paula Giddings is brilliant. Her research and presentation allows you to understand the subject matter while drawing your own conclusions. She verbalizes the Black woman experience in a way that is still relavent in the
Mar 22, 2007 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 ...more
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference, favorites
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!
Jan 01, 2017 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.
Jenny Robertson
Jan 05, 2008 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.
Jun 16, 2013 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 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.
Oct 19, 2009 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.
Nov 12, 2016 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.
Clarissa Morrison
Apr 16, 2016 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.
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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

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