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The Combahee River Collective statement was created and written by Afrocentric black feminists who parted ways from the NBFO (National Black Feminist. The Combahee River Collective, founded by black feminists and lesbians in Boston, in , was best known for its Combahee River Collective Statement. The Combahee River Collective Statement. Combahee River Collective (). We are a collective of Black feminists who have been meeting together since.

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Equality of men and women is something that cannot happen even in the abstract world. Many Black women have a good understanding of both sexism and racism, ruver because of the everyday constrictions of their lives, cannot risk struggling against them both.

We must also question whether Lesbian separatism is an adequate and progressive political analysis and strategy, even for those who practice it, since it so completely denies any but the sexual sources of women’s oppression, negating the facts of class and race.

Here is the way male and female roles were defined in a Black nationalist pamphlet from the early s:. A Promise and a Way of Life: The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking.

We just wanted to see what we had. Grant contextualizes the CRC’s work stateement the political trends of the time.

Black Feminist Organizing, —”, in Sisters in the Struggle: Raid at Combahee Ferry. Although we were not doing combzhee work as a group, individuals continued their involvement in Lesbian politics, sterilization abuse and abortion rights work, Third World Women’s International Women’s Day activities, and support activity for the trials of Dr. Gates Gill v.

Black women’s extremely negative relationship to the American political system a system of white male rule has always been determined by our membership in two oppressed racial and sexual castes.

Many reactionary and destructive acts have been done in the name of achieving “correct” political goals. In a interview with Susan Goodwillie, Smith noted that this action moved the group out into the wider Boston community. The reaction of Black men to feminism has been notoriously negative.


They state, ” We are particularly committed to working on those struggles in which race, sex, and class are simultaneous factors in oppression. Black Feminist Organizing, —”, Duchess Harris credits the “polyvocal political expressions of the Black feminists in the Combahee River Collective with rivver ing the nature of identity politics in the s and s, and challeng ing earlier ‘essentialist’ appeals and doctrines If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.

As BIack women we find any type of biological determinism a particularly dangerous statemnet reactionary basis upon which to build a politic. Smith and the Combahee River Collective have been credited with coining the term identity politics, which they defined as “a politics that grew out of our objective material experiences as Black women.

We realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation are us.

Combahee River Collective

Merely naming the pejorative stereotypes attributed to Black women e. The second retreat was held in November in Franklin Township, New Jerseyand the third and fourth were scheduled for March and July The fact that individual Black feminists are living in isolation all over the country, that our own numbers are small, and that we have some skills in writing, printing, and publishing makes us want to carry collecctive these kinds of projects as a means of organizing Black feminists as we continue to do political work in coalition with other groups.

The action freed more than slaves and is the only military campaign in American history planned and led by a woman. We struggle together with Black men against racism, while we also struggle with Black men about sexism.

Contemporary Black feminism is the outgrowth of countless generations of personal sacrifice, militancy, sttement work by our mothers and sisters. InBlack feminists, primarily located in New York, felt the necessity of forming a separate Combaheee feminist group.

We are socialists because we believe that work must be organized for the collective benefit of those who do the work and create the products, and not for the profit of the bosses.


The work to be done and the countless issues that this work represents merely reflect the pervasiveness of our oppression. There is a very low value placed upon Black women’s stahement in this society, which is both racist and sexist. And every Black woman who came, came out of a satement need for some level of possibility that did not previously exist in her life.

As we grew older we became aware of the threat of physical and sexual abuse by men. In the fall, when some members returned, we experienced several months of comparative inactivity and internal satement which were first conceptualized as a Lesbian-straight split but which were also the result of class and political differences.

Combahee River Collective – Wikipedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The statement describes “Contemporary Black feminism as the outgrowth of countless generations of personal sacrifice, militancy, and work by our mothers and sisters” such as Sojourner Truth sttatement, Harriet TubmanFrances E.

We might use our position at the bottom, however, to make a clear leap into revolutionary action. During the summer those of us who were still meeting had determined the need to do political work and to move beyond consciousness-raising and serving exclusively as an emotional support group.

For example, we were told in the same breath to be quiet both for the sake of being “ladylike” and to make us less objectionable in the eyes of white people.

We realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation are us. Wallace is pessimistic but realistic in her assessment of Black feminists’ position, particularly in her allusion to the nearly classic isolation most of us face.

We had a retreat in the late spring which provided a time for both political discussion and working out interpersonal issues.