By D. Harris

Taking an interdisciplinary process, this publication analyzes Black women's involvement in American political lifestyles, targeting what they did to realize political strength among 1961 and 2001, and why, in lots of situations, they didn't be successful. Harris demonstrates that Black ladies have attempted to achieve centrality via their participation in Presidential Commissions, Black feminist businesses, theatrical productions, movie diversifications of literature, good looks pageants, electoral politics, and Presidential appointments. Harris contends that 'success' during this quarter signifies that the feminist-identified Black girls within the Congressional Black Caucus who voted opposed to Clarence Thomas's appointment could have spoken on behalf of Anita Hill; Senator Carol Moseley Braun could have received re-election; Lani Gunier may have had a listening to; Dr. Joycelyn Elders may have maintained her publish; and Congresswoman Barbara Lee should not have stood on my own in her competition to the Iraq battle solution.

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Where did we get these ideas? What books did we read? And then, of course, there was a sense of sharing. We were interested in so many similar things even though we came from very different places. Most 12 BLACK FEMINIST POLITICS—KENNEDY TO CLINTON of us came from an academic background. Others had been really involved in organizing from the cities that we had come from. It was quite something for us. It was really very different for me. And so the Boston chapter of the NBFO—the precursor for Combahee—started with four Black women sitting in Frazier’s living room discussing what had brought them to think of themselves as feminists.

The third Black feminist retreat was held March 24–26, 1978. The fourth retreat met July 21–23, 1978. After these retreats occurred, the participants were encouraged to write articles for 22 BLACK FEMINIST POLITICS—KENNEDY TO CLINTON the Third World women’s issue of Conditions, a journal that was edited by Lorraine Bethel and Barbara Smith. The importance of publishing was emphasized in the fifth retreat, held on July 8, 1979. Participants discussed contributing articles for a lesbian herstory issue of two journals, Heresies and Frontiers.

One of the things that I used to feel was the lack of role models for myself. I used to feel like if only Lorraine [Hansberry] hadn’t A HISTORY OF BLACK AMERICAN FEMINISM 29 died so early then there would be someone who is older than me who is trying to carve out the territory. Audre [Lorde] was important to me in that way. Being able to look over to and up to someone who had been here more years than I, who shared the same kind of vision in politics, but I was very aware that we were doing something new because I knew enough about history and about political organizing to know that we were doing something that was never attempted before.

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