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Women, Race & Class

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  16,653 ratings  ·  1,062 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. ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 12th 1983 by Vintage (first published 1981)
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 ·  16,653 ratings  ·  1,062 reviews

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Always Pouting
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really am glad I finally got around to reading this. The book examines the history of the feminist movement in the United States with an eye towards the ways in which the movement fell short on meeting the needs of women who had other marginalized identities. I personally knew some of this history but not all and as Davis mentions it's crucial to grapple with the historic actions of movements when trying to address why certain people choose not to engage in those movements. I also think most p ...more
Mario the lone bookwolf
An early masterpiece, showing the importance of emancipation, feminism, and gender equality, owning the unresolved past with its toxic influence on present and future by using Big History, describing the story of the long term consequences of slavery and oppression, showing the truth from the points of views of the victims many ideologies, directly causing the problems in the first place, want to ignore.

It strongly reminded me of the ideas and conclusions of
White fragility
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, recs
Incisive and concise, Women, Race, and Class charts the history of racial and gender oppression in America. In lucid prose Angela Davis breaks down how misogyny, racism, and classism have shaped the character of the nation’s social life from the Antebellum Era to the Sixties. She pays special attention to how white-dominated middle-class social movements often have forgone solidarity with working people and Black people, ostensibly for the sake of political expediency, and highlights how the nar ...more
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.
A fantastic book that examines the history of the feminist movement with a keen attention to the intersections of gender, race, and class. The term intersectionality has become such a buzzword nowadays, often used to describe having various social identities; Kimberle Crenshaw created the term in reference to how multiple systems of oppression affect those with more than one marginalized identity. Angela Davis honors this original conception of intersectionality by examining how the feminist mov ...more
Lucy Langford
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5**** rounded up.

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.

Concise, informative and at times shocking, Angela Davis has analysed and documented how racism, sexism and classism has effected American social history. Before “intersectionality” w
I have been lied to about the Suffrage movement, Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton.

I think it’s pretty unsettling that words written in the late 70’s/ early 80’s ring true today and I’m left to wonder if we as a society learned anything in the almost forty years when the book was written.

This book is a lesson in the history in the fight to stop sexual violence and supporting reproductive rights and gender equality for women of color and the racism perpetrated at the hands of middle class w
Back when this book was first published and Angela Davis was hailed a feminist icon, she laughed it off. "I'm not a feminist, I'm a revolutionary black woman" she said, because feminism was then still a predominantly white women movement. In a 2017 interview however, Angela Davis stated that she now identifies with abolitionist feminism - a school of feminism that's anti-racist, anti-capitalism and intersectional.

Over the past few decades black women and women of colour in America and elsewhere
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

There's so much that this book explores, and it provides so much context for current events, like the current state of feminism in the U.S., and some Audre Lorde's essays in Sister Outsider, as well as essays in This Bridge Called My Back. Although this book ended abruptly, it doesn't detract from the obvious comprehensive work and research conducted by Angela Davis. I liked the structure of the book. Sometimes it made for a confusing read as it wasn't necessarily a chronology detailing
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: race, gender, democracy
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
Apr 24, 2016 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.
Abeer Abdullah
A book like absolutely no other, Absolutely no other. Never there was and never there will ever be anyone like Angela Y. Davis. My personal hero, and everything I ever want to be.
Z. F.
I think these days most people who call themselves feminists understand, at least in a vague sense, what "intersectionality" is and accept that it's important. In case you don't, here's Merriam-Webster's definition:

intersectionality (n.): the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups

Of course paying lip service to t
Jul 28, 2011 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.
Neal Adolph
I may at some point take the time to write something better than this, but I also might not. If I do, it will do more justice to this book than what I am currently offering. If I do not, then this short little paragraph will have to do.

Women, Race, and Class is a classic work. It is old, but it is not dated. It is essential reading in a way that the works of Ta-Nehisi Coates' are not (though that is not to detract from how essential his works are as well). Angela Davis is a visionary, an attenti
This is a thorough and fascinating read! I've never read US History through the lens Angel Davis offers in Women, Race, and Class. The fact that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a suffragist but failed to include Black women in her movement reminds me of today's so-called-feminists who refuse to include trans women in their considerations. I never know how Margaret Sanger voiced eugenic ideology with obvious racist reasoning. I didn't realize the dimensions of consequences that result from the perils ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Angela Davis is a name that I often heard when we are talking about the inequality of America but I do not know much about her. However, I did knew that Angela Rye, a Political commentator was named after her dad who was an advocate of emancipation for Blacks. Now unto reviewing the book which I found very insightful and educational.

"Have not "black male citizens." been heard to say they doubted the wisdom of extending the right of the suffrage to women? Why should the African prove more just an
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I remember borrowing this book from the public library on Fordham Road when I was 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.
Aug 10, 2014 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 simply t ...more
Bookish Bethany
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Davis provides a sharp and succinct history of black, female and class oppression from the pre-1800s, to slaves working the fields, to liberation, segregation and the now. She lists out historical facts and statistics with a careful kind of power, sprinkling the very concrete reasons black people - specifically black women - have suffered at the hands of the overarchingly prejudiced / racist / sexist system. She demonstrates that feminism needs to be intersectional. You can't stand for equality ...more
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Of particular interest in this modern American classic is the political divide-and-conquer tactics of the US Democrat and Republican parties. As the 2 parties to the same elites, they benefited from division between the abolition movement and the women's suffrage movement, illustrating the "Intersectionality" of Women, Race, and Class.
Ch.10 and Ch.13 also stand out; for the latter chapter's topic, Silvia Federici's writings on unpaid labor and Wages for Housework was what shook me to realize th
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant analysis of the women's movement, beginning with its inception within the abolitionist movement, Women, Race & Class is a must read for anyone wanting to learn more about feminism and racism-within-the-feminist movement. ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars! Random thoughts:

Overall, I really ehhh “enjoyed” is the wrong word. But I thought it was a really strong book. I felt like Davis tried to be fair to everyone’s plight when it would have been really easy to say “yeah ok but the housewife’s problems are minuscule compared to the enslaved woman soooo fuck the housewife.” I also found the description of solidarity between people with different oppressions really inspiring.

As I’m not USian I guess I was a little disappointed because it was
Noelia Alonso

Women, Race & Class is a good and informative essay collection. I found some to be more eye-opening than others, especially those that delve into issues I was not familiar with (an example is the sterilisation campaign during the fight for abortion rights which I had not idea about and was extremely difficult to read). Obviously some essays, in terms of the statistics she shares, are a bit outdated. Not the author’s problem though because this is just a compilation of her essays written ye
Lukas Sotola
Something revelatory in every chapter. Essential reading.
Why people should read Angela Davis...

What intersectionality is: recognizing the ways in which power is expressed through various dimensions, realizing how even avowed feminists can be racist, how antiracists can be homophobes, how gay rights activists can be classist, and so on and so forth, and how any attempt to split us into tribes ultimately serves power structures, when really we should all be fighting what they called The Man back in Angela Davis' heyday.

What intersectionality isn't: Buzz
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The strength of Women, Race & Class is somewhat dampened by the communism Kool-Aid Angela Davis clearly partook of at some point in her life. (That Lenin Peace Prize speech on youtube... Oh, the irony.) That said, to this day it's a solid pick for building a foundation to understanding intersectionality. So yeah, a warning and a recommendation in one. ...more
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: non-fiction, feminism
3.75 ★★★★☆
«’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.»

Review in English | Reseña en español (abajo)
Women, Race & Class by Angela Davis is nowadays a classic feminist essay that had been on my wish-list for some years, but I had always ended up prioritising other essays to read. A gripping and compelling essay that should be mandatory for understanding the importance of inters
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
4.5 stars.

A very insightful read. Not an easy one at all, but an important one that illuminates so many key events of U.S. history in regards to civil rights.

This book featured a no-nonsense and sometimes brutal dose (like a punch to the face) of clarity on the issues of race, gender, and, most importantly, the intersection of the two. I learned that it wasn't only white men who treated Black women so inhumanely, but that many a white woman—even feminists—simply could not see past their prejudi
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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

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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.” 18 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.” 14 likes
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