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I first encountered the Combahee River Collective Statement in a women’s-studies class, my second year of college at suny Buffalo. We had been reading about divisions within the feminist movement in the late nineteen-sixties and early nineteen-seventies, and the emergence of a body of thought captured in the framework of “Black feminism.”

The Combahee River Collective was a small organization, but it involved some of the luminaries of Black feminism: Barbara Smith and her twin sister, Beverly Smith, as well as Demita Frazier, Cheryl Clarke, Akasha Hull, Margo Okazawa-Rey, Chirlane McCray, and Audre Lorde. Equally dismayed by the direction of the feminist movement, which they believed to be dominated by middle-class white women, and the suffocating masculinity in Black-nationalist organizations, they set out to formulate their own politics and strategies in response to their distinct experiences as Black women. But they were not only reacting to the deficits they found in organizations led by white women and Black men. They were also…Read More.