"The indefatigable Beverly Guy-Sheftall has put together a breathtaking sweep of African American feminist thought in one indispensable volume." —Elizabeth Spelman, Professor of Philosophy, Smith College
Looking at the struggle from the grassroots level, Williams highlights the role of ordinary people as well as more famous historical actors, and demonstrates that women activists were central to Black Power. Vivid and highly readable, Concrete Demands is a perfect introduction to Black Power in the twentieth century for anyone interested in the history of black liberation movements.
The chapters cover: first-wave feminism, a period of feminist activity during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which focused primarily on gaining women's suffrage; second-wave feminism, which started in the ’60s and lasted through the ’80s and emphasized the connection between the personal and the political; and third-wave feminism, which started in the early ’90s and is best exemplified by its focus on diversity and intersectionality, queer theory, and sex-positivity.
Women’s centers, bookstores, health clinics, and domestic violence shelters established feminist places for women’s liberation in Boston, Los Angeles, and many other cities. Unable to afford their own buildings, radicals adapted existing structures to serve as women’s centers that fostered autonomy, health clinics that promoted reproductive rights, bookstores that connected women to feminist thought, and domestic violence shelters that protected their bodily integrity. Legal equal opportunity reforms and daily practices of liberation enhanced women’s choices in education and occupations. Once the majority of wives and mothers had joined the labor force, by the mid-1980s, new buildings began to emerge that substituted for the unpaid domestic tasks once performed in the home. Fast food franchises, childcare facilities, adult day centers, and hospices were among the inadvertent spatial consequences of the second wave.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Austin traces how Blackness was defined by cultural ideas, social practices and shared identities as well as shaped in response to the social and historical conditions at different moments in American history. Analyzing black public opinion on black nationalism and its relationship with class, Austin challenges the commonly held assumption that black nationalism is a lower class phenomenon. In a refreshing and final move, he makes a compelling argument for rethinking contemporary theories of race away from the current fascination with physical difference, which he contends sweeps race back to its misconceived biological underpinnings. Achieving Blackness is a wonderful contribution to the sociology of race and African American Studies.