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Black Women

  • Womanist is to feminist as purple to lavender.

    • Alice Walker,
    • epigraph, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • As a blackwoman / every act is a personal act / every act is a political act.

  • As a blackwoman / the bearing of my child / is a political act.

  • Any woman who has a great deal to offer the world is in trouble. And if she's a black woman, she's in deep trouble.

    • Hazel Scott,
    • in Margo Jefferson, "Great (Hazel) Scott!" Ms. ()
  • No other group in America has so had their identity socialized out of existence as have black women. ... When black people are talked about the focus tends to be on black men; and when women are talked about the focus tends to be on white women.

  • Usually, when people talk about the 'strength' of black women they are referring to the way in which they perceive black women coping with oppression. They ignore the reality that to be strong in the face of oppression is not the same as overcoming oppression, that endurance is not to be confused with transformation. ... The tendency to romanticize the black female experience that began in the feminist movement was reflected in the culture as a whole.

  • I am a huge fan of the Black woman. I never hesitate to recommend her when times are bad or things go wrong.

    • Nikki Giovanni,
    • "Even Now, Hooray for the Black Woman," in Daryl Cumber Dance, ed., Honey, Hush ()
  • And she had nothing to fall back on; not maleness, not whiteness, not ladyhood, not anything. And out of the profound desolation of her reality she may very well have invented herself ...

    • Toni Morrison,
    • "What the Black Women Think About Women's Lib," in The New York Times Magazine ()
  • Black women, historically, have been doubly victimized by the twin immoralities of Jim Crow and Jane Crow. ... Black women, faced with these dual barriers, have often found that sex bias is more formidable than racial bias.

    • Pauli Murray,
    • in Mary Lou Thompson, ed., Voices of the New Feminism ()
  • Mammy and Jezebel and the welfare queen may be the most prominent roles for black women in American culture, but even these figures, as limited as is their range, inhabit the shadows of American imagination. ... silence and invisibility are the hallmarks of black women in the imagery of American life.

    • Nell Irvin Painter,
    • "Hill, Thomas, and the Use of Racial Stereotype," in Toni Morrison, ed., Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power ()
  • There was no way for me to understand it at the time, but the talk that filled the kitchen those afternoons was highly functional. It served as therapy, the cheapest kind available to my mother and her friends. ... But more than therapy, that freewheeling, wide-ranging, exuberant talk functioned as an outlet for the tremendous creative energy they possessed. They were women in whom the need for self-expression was strong, and since language was the only vehicle readily available to them they made of it an art form that — in keeping with the African tradition in which art and life are one — was an integral part of their lives.

    • Paule Marshall,
    • "The Making of a Writer: From the Poets in the Kitchen," in The New York Times Book Review ()
  • It is not that black women ... have had nothing to say, but rather that they have had no say.

    • Mae Gwendolyn Henderson,
    • "Speaking in Tongues: Dialogics, Dialectics, and the Black Woman Writer's Literary Tradition," in Cheryl A. Wall, Changing Our Own Words: Essays on Criticism, Theory, and Writing by Black Women ()
  • I'm not hung up on this thing about liberating myself from the black man. I'm not going to try that thing. I got a black husband, six feet three, two hundred and forty pounds, with a fourteen shoe, that I don't want to be liberated from.

    • Fannie Lou Hamer,
    • in Susie Erenrich, ed., Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: An Anthology of the Mississippi Civil Rights Struggle ()
  • Nobody wants to know a colored woman's opinion about her own status of that of her group. When she dares express it, no matter how mild or tactful it may be, it is called 'propaganda,' or is labeled 'controversial.' Those two words have come to have a very ominous sound to me.

  • A white woman has only one handicap to overcome — that of sex. I have two — both sex and race. ... Colored men have only one — that of race. Colored women are the only group in this country who have two heavy handicaps to overcome, that of race as well as that of sex.

  • Not a single woman in the room could handle being told, 'You’re awesome.' I couldn’t handle being told I am awesome. What in the hell is wrong with us?