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Black Women Artists: Black Feminism

A Short Introduction to Black Feminism

As a student of the arts, it is necessary to develop a critical understanding of societal structures that affect access, representation, and exclusion within the arts according to gender, race, and class. This guide aims to outline resources that will help students develop a basic understanding of Black feminism while also providing a platform for the work of Black women artists. 

A basic theoretical concept within Black feminism is 'Intersectionality,' [1] a term coined by scholar of critical race theory Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 that posits you cannot divorce race and class from discussions of gender equality.

Considering the sidelining of Black women and their concerns throughout the feminist movements in the U.S., [2] a need to exclusively and specifically develop a Black feminist theory for and by Black women materialized.

In this guide, you will find articles, fiction/prose/non-fiction books that will introduce you to specific theoretical concepts, writings, art  and more that form the backbone of Black feminist theory. Further notes are below:

[1] "intersectionality, n.". OED Online. December 2022. Oxford University Press. (accessed January 19, 2023).

[2] Davis, Angela Y. Women, Race & Class. 1st Vintage books ed. New York: Vintage Books, 1983.

This guide was curated and written by Barbara Calderon. Feel free to e-mail me with any other suggestions, comments, issues etc. 

Books of Note

Websites of Note

Black Feminists of Note

The following women created important work that has shaped Black feminist thought. Each name links to an article or biography from different publishers and sources. Please check out the different sites as they all have reputable information. 

Sojourner Truth

Anna Julia Cooper

Fannie Lou Hamer 

Mary Church Terrell 

Ida B. Wells

Combahee River Collective -- Demita Frazier, Beverly Smith, and Barbara Smith

Angela Davis 

Marsha P. Johnson

Shirley Chisholm

Bell hooks

Toni Morrison 

Audre Lorde 

Alice Walker 

Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

Barbara Smith

Melissa Harris Perry 

Patricia Hill-Collins

Suggest a Purchase

Use our Purchase Request Form to request library materials for purchase.


A Black Women's History of the United States

Berry, Daina Ramey., and Kali Nicole. Gross. A Black Women’s History of the United States. Beacon Press, 2020.

How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective

Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. How We Get Free : Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective.  Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books, 2017.

Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism

Tinsley, Omise’eke Natasha. Beyoncé in Formation : Remixing Black Feminism. Austin: University of Texas, 2018.

Shadow Bodies: Black Women, Ideology, Representation, and Politics

Julia S. Jordan-Zachery. Shadow Bodies : Black Women, Ideology, Representation, and Politics. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2017.

Iconic : Decoding Images of the Revolutionary Black Woman

Johnson, Lakesia D. Iconic : Decoding Images of the Revolutionary Black Woman. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2012.

Black Sexual Politics

Hill Collins, Patricia. Black Sexual Politics : African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Where We Stand : Class Matters

hooks, bell. Where We Stand : Class Matters. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Streaming Video

Black Feminist

This feature length documentary is available to stream via Academic Video Online

born in flames film cover

This film Born in Flames (1983) directed by Lizzie Borden is available to stream on Kanopy. 

black art in the absence of light

This documentary from 2021 is streaming on Swank. 

Lectures from the Open Web

A People's Journey African American Women and the Struggle for Equality published by the National Museum of African American History & Culture August 29, 2017

The Urgency of Intersectionality by Kimberlé Crenshaw from TEDWomen 2016

Black Female Voices: Who is Listening - A public dialogue between bell hooks + Melissa Harris-Perry recorded at the New School November 8, 2013 


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