We are a public forum committed to collective reasoning and imagination, but we can’t do it without you. Join today to help us keep the discussion of ideas free and open to everyone, and enjoy member benefits like our quarterly books.
Our members-only podcast is now available to all! A People’s Anthology is a reading series of radical essays and speeches. Season one highlights six short texts related to Black liberation struggles in the U.S., from Claudia Jones to the Combahee River Collective. Find the other episodes and links to Apple, Spotify, and more here.
For the fifth episode, we sat down with Beverly Smith, one of the original members of the Combahee River Collective, and one of three co-writers of their 1977 statement. Renowned for its description of oppressions as “interlocking,” the statement serves as both an update on the “triple oppression” that Claudia Jones laid out in 1949, and as an inspiration for Kimberlé W. Crenshaw’s coining of the term “intersectionality” a decade later.
As Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes in How We Get Free:
It is difficult to quantify the enormity of the political contribution made by the women in the collective, because so much of their analysis is taken for granted in feminist politics today—especially their description of oppressions as happening ‘simultaneously,’ thus creating new measures of oppression and inequality. In other words, Black women could not quantify their oppression only in terms of sexism or racism, or of homophobia experienced by Black lesbians. They were not ever a single category, but it was the merging or enmeshment of those identities that compounded how Black women experienced oppression.
Beverly Smith is a Black feminist health advocate, writer, academic, theorist and activist.
Note: A transcript of this episode is available here.
…we need your help. Confronting the many challenges of COVID-19—from the medical to the economic, the social to the political—demands all the moral and deliberative clarity we can muster. In Thinking in a Pandemic, we’ve organized the latest arguments from doctors and epidemiologists, philosophers and economists, legal scholars and historians, activists and citizens, as they think not just through this moment but beyond it. While much remains uncertain, Boston Review’s responsibility to public reason is sure. That’s why you’ll never see a paywall or ads. It also means that we rely on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, pledge your contribution to keep it free for everyone by making a tax-deductible donation.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
Racial redress should be modeled on the global anticolonial tradition of worldbuilding.
Robin D. G. Kelley and Bongani Madondo honor the writer’s life, work, and legacy.
The militarization of gun culture among both civilians and police reflects an increasingly energetic defense of white rule in the United States. This has been facilitated in part by an NRA-led reinterpretation of what the Second Amendment meant by “militia”.