Foundational Black Feminist Theory

Black Feminist Theory Texts

These texts are written by activists, thinkers, and women who were/are at the forefront of Black Feminism

Sister Outsider
Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches is a collection of essential essays and speeches written by Audre Lorde, a woman who wrote from the particulars of her identity: Black woman, lesbian, poet, activist, cancer survivor, mother, and feminist writer.

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments
Saidiya Hartman

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law.

Black Feminist Thought
Patricia Hill Collins

Patricia Hill Collins explores the words and ideas of Black feminist intellectuals as well as those African-American women outside academe. She provides an interpretive framework for the work of such prominent Black feminist thinkers as Angela Davis, bell hooks, Alice Walker, and Audre Lorde. The result is a superbly crafted book that provides the first synthetic overview of Black feminist thought.

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center
Bell Hooks

When Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center was first published in 1984, it was welcomed and praised by feminist thinkers who wanted a new vision. Even so, individual readers frequently found the theory “unsettling” or “provocative.” Today, the blueprint for feminist movement presented in the book remains as provocative and relevant as ever. Written in hooks’s characteristic direct style, Feminist Theory embodies the hope that feminists can find a common language to spread the word and create a mass, global feminist movement.

Women, Race, and Class
Angela Davis

A powerful study of the women’s liberation 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. From the widely revered and legendary political activist and scholar Angela Davis

In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens
Alice Walker

Published in 1983, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose is a collection composed of 36 separate pieces written by Alice Walker. The essays, articles, reviews, statements, and speeches were written between 1966 and 1982. Many are based on her understanding of “womanist” theory.

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