Liberation Circle & Reading Summaries from D.A.T.T. Freedom School
Summer 2015 – Week 5
The Storify for this topic’s Liberation Circle tweet chat can be found HERE.
Summary of “Black Feminist Thought” by Patricia Hill-Collins – Chapter 1 “The Politics of Black Feminist Thought”, Chapter 2 “Distinguishing Features of Black Feminist Thought”, & Chapter 10 “U.S. Black Feminism in Transnational Context”
Dr. Collins opens up the first chapter of Black Feminist Thought with the words of Maria W. Stewart in 1831 challenging the notions of white patriarchy limiting the greatness & brilliance of Black women by delegating them to gendered tasks based on hegemonic femininity.
“How long shall the fair daughters of Africa be compelled to bury their minds and talents beneath a load of iron pots and kettles?” – Maria W. Stewart, 1831
“Maria Stewart challenged African-American women to reject the negative images of Black womanhood so prominent in her times, pointing out that race, gender, and class oppression were the fundamental causes of Black women’s poverty. In an 1833 speech she proclaimed, “Like King Solomon, who put neither nail nor hammer to the temple, yet received the praise; so also have the white Americans gained themselves a name . . . while in reality we have been their principal foundation and support.” Stewart objected to the injustice of this situation: “We have pursued the shadow, they have obtained the substance; we have performed the labor, they have received the profits;we have planted the vines, they have eaten the fruits of them” (Richardson 1987, 59). Maria Stewart was not content to point out the source of Black women’s oppression. She urged Black women to forge self-definitions of self-reliance and independence. “It is useless for us any longer to sit with our hands folded, reproaching the whites; for that will never elevate us,” she exhorted. “Possess the spirit of independence. . . . Possess the spirit of men, bold and enterprising, fearless and undaunted” (p. 53). To Stewart, the power of self-definition was essential, for Black women’s survival was at stake. “Sue for your rights and privileges. Know the reason you cannot attain them.Weary them with your importunities. You can but die if you make the attempt; and we shall certainly die if you do not” (p. 38).” – “Black Feminist Thought” by Patricia Hill-Collins, p. 1