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Radical Sisters: Second-Wave Feminism and Black Liberation in Washington, D.C. (Women in American History) Hardcover – March 4, 2008
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"Valk's in-depth analysis provides a new, more nuanced take on the era. Recommended."--Choice
"Valk's study of women's political activism in Washington D.C., offers new way to think about the various organizations that women formed in the 1960s and 1970s. . . .Beautifully organized. . . . Ambitious in scope, rich in detail, but well worth the effort required to absorb its many insights."--Journal of American History
"Through meticulous historical exploration of women's political activism in Washington, DC, Valk provides a nuanced analysis of how the synergistic relationships among multiple social movements and the women who moved among them produced radical feminist policies."--Women's Review of Books
Going beyond self-identified Washington feminists to include critics, outsiders, occasional supporters, and those supportive of the movement but not directly affiliated with it, Valk documents interactions between groups working against sexism, racism, and poverty. Radical Sisters uncovers the fruitful, but often divisive, connections between movements for urban change, welfare rights, reproductive control, and black liberation, while detailing their impact on the ideas, ideals, and activities embraced by modern feminism.
Top customer reviews
Valk collects a vivid tapestry of stories from the period and into the 1970s. African-American progressive women, as this book makes abundantly clear, faced incredible pressures. Blasted by nationalists for hurting the status of Black men; holding accountable comrades who had professed support for women's and gay liberation yet faced difficulties in putting it to practice; and forming their own identities as feminists separate from white women, who often had not dealt with their own internalized racism, Black women carved out a space in which political ideology found a place at the table with the practical needs of family and education. It's hard not to admire their determination and sacrifice.
The author imparts knowledge of groups long forgotten by the mainstream culture: the Furies, which advocated lesbianism as a step in revolutionary action; the National Black Feminist Organization, which embraced feminism and Black Power; and many others. Valk covers the successes and failures, and, in that moment, reminds us how far we need to go in understanding both race and gender.