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How We Get Free

Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
"If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free." — Combahee River Collective Statement

Winner of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction

In the last several years, Black feminism has reemerged as the analytical framework for the activist response to the oppression of trans women of color, the fight for reproductive rights, and, of course, the movement against police abuse and violence. The most visible organizations and activists connected to the Black Lives Matter movement speak openly about how Black feminism shapes their politics and strategies today. The interviews I have compiled in this book -- with the three authors of the Combahee River Collective Statement, Barbara Smith, Beverly Smith, and Demita Frazier, #BlackLivesMatter cofounder Alicia Garza, and historian and activist Barbara Ransby -- are an attempt to show how these politics remain historically vibrant and relevant to the struggles of today. As Demita Frazier says, the point of talking about Combahee is not to be nostalgic; rather, we talk about it because Black women are still not free.

The Combahee River Collective, a path-breaking group of radical Black feminists, was one of the most important organizations to develop out of the antiracist and women’s liberation movements of the 1960s and 70s. In this collection of essays and interviews edited by activist-scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, founding members of the organization and contemporary activists reflect on the legacy of its contributions to Black feminism and its impact on today’s struggles.


Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States. Her book From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation won the 2016 Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book. Her articles have been published in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, Jacobin, New Politics, The Guardian, In These Times, Black Agenda Report, Ms., International Socialist Review, and other publications. Taylor is Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University.

 

  • How We Get Free: Black Feminism & the Combahee River Collective by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Haymarket Books (December 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9781608468553
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces