Black Feminism Introductory Research Guide

By A.J. Muhammad, Librarian III
June 29, 2018
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

In the following post, Amara Green, a Pre-Professional in the Schomburg Center Jean Blackwell Huston Research and Reference Division, writes about the Black Feminism Introductory Research Guide: an excellent starting point for anyone researching this subject and notable figures from the Black feminist movement such as Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, and others.

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde, by Robert Giard; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1661032

"I am a Black Feminist. I mean I recognize that my power as well as my primary oppressions come as a result of my blackness as well as my womaness, and therefore my struggles on both of these fronts are inseparable."
-Audre Lorde

The Black Feminism Introductory Resource Guide highlights works and resources within the collection at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the New York Public Library at large. These works will prove essential to any researcher looking for an introduction into black feminism, and provide a gateway for further research and exploration of the Schomburg Center's collections.

Black feminism focuses on the ways black women have been excluded from mainstream feminism because of their race, and excluded from black liberation movements because of their gender. In 1851, Sojourner Truth delivered a speech at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, which came to be known as "Ain’t I A Woman." Truth’s speech was extremely radical, and can be noted as a key part of the black feminist movement.

"That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman?” -Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 485490  

Truth’s speech points out the ways in which Black women's race and gender impact the ways they experience the world. The black feminist movement looks to acknowledge that there are differences in women's identities and that feminist movements must acknowledge these differences in order to be successful and fully inclusive.

Materials included in the guide range from important books to film and audio recordings< including materials found in: Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division Art and ArtifactsManuscripts, Archives and Rare BooksMoving Image and Recorded SoundPhotographs and Prints.
The guide includes pivotal works by Alice Walker Zora Neale Hurston, Audre Lorde and Angela Davis, among many others. Each work provides perspectives of black women’s lives that can often be overlooked.

I was driven to create this guide to form a digital location which specifically highlights the work of black women within the collections of the Schomburg Center and the New York Public Library. This guide is reflective of my own academic and personal interests, and has allowed me to further explore topics that I am passionate about at both the Schomburg Center and NYPL.