Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era (Justice, Power, and Politics)

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In this comprehensive history, Ashley D. Farmer examines black women’s political, social, and cultural engagement with Black Power ideals and organizations. Complicating the assumption that sexism relegated black women to the margins of the movement, Farmer demonstrates how female activists fought for more inclusive understandings of Black Power and social justice by developing new ideas about black womanhood. This compelling book shows how the new tropes of womanhood that they created–the “Militant Black Domestic,” the “Revolutionary Black Woman,” and the “Third World Woman,” for instance–spurred debate among activists over the importance of women and gender to Black Power organizing, causing many of the era’s organizations and leaders to critique patriarchy and support gender equality.Making use of a vast and untapped array of black women’s artwork, political cartoons, manifestos, and political essays that they produced as members of groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Congress of African People, Farmer reveals how black women activists reimagined black womanhood, challenged sexism, and redefined the meaning of race, gender, and identity in American life.

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Review

Farmer challenges the basic assumptions of this period that the main role of women was marginal or custodial within Black Power formations, or that black women simply left Black Power organizations to form their own groups in reaction to intransigent sexism during the era. Instead, Farmer describes black women as engaged in intense ideological struggles to shape the political interventions and priorities of the organizations in which they were involved.–American Historical Review

Provides a nuanced and perceptive account of black women’s political activism in the Black Power era.–Pacific Historical Review

An in-depth scholarly analysis of Black Nationalist movements, feminism, and art. Recommended for a scholarly audience.–Library Journal

The compelling analysis and clear prose make this book a must-read for anyone who desires a more nuanced understanding of Black Power beyond the works by and about the select few men who are more commonly recognized as the movement’s leaders.–Public Books

This in-depth study by Farmer depicts strides against sexism, racism, and classism that black women from all walks of life made to blaze pathways toward freedom . . . this text reveals how black women have continued to be central figures in challenging long-standing social injustices.–Choice

Farmer offers students of twentieth-century U.S. history a marvelous gift: an intellectual genealogy of radical black women’s black power activism, grounded in their political theorizing and cultural production and spanning the post–World War II years through the 1970s.–The Journal of American History

Outstanding and nuanced. . . . Farmer traces the relationships between black women’s intellectual, artistic, and activist work.–Journal of Southern History

Review

This is one of the most sophisticated, nuanced, and analytically rigorous explorations of Black Power that I have had the pleasure to read. No other study on the subject is this substantively focused and theoretically sharp.”—Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, University of Connecticut

Remaking Black Power is an indispensable triumph. Painstakingly researched, artfully organized, crisply argued, utterly insightful, Ashley Farmer has remade Black Power scholarship like the black women she chronicles. This book unveils and dissects what has been hidden from the Black Power–era for far too long: the black woman as theorist.–Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning

Farmer’s astute reading of visuals and print culture produced by black women not only resets the chronological clock of the Black Power era but also shifts our gaze from the well-worn paternalistic utterings of male leaders to women who imagined empowerment on their own terms by developing ideologies, rituals, and texts that redefined who they were and, in some cases, who they wanted to be.–Ula Yvette Taylor, author of The Promise of Patriarchy

About the Author

Ashley D. Farmer is assistant professor of history and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas-Austin

In this comprehensive history, Ashley D. Farmer examines black women’s political, social, and cultural engagement with Black Power ideals and organizations. Complicating the assumption that sexism relegated black women to the margins of the movement, Farmer demonstrates how female activists fought for more inclusive understandings of Black Power and social justice by developing new ideas about black womanhood. This compelling book shows how the new tropes of womanhood that they created–the “Militant Black Domestic,” the “Revolutionary Black Woman,” and the “Third World Woman,” for instance–spurred debate among activists over the importance of women and gender to Black Power organizing, causing many of the era’s organizations and leaders to critique patriarchy and support gender equality.Making use of a vast and untapped array of black women’s artwork, political cartoons, manifestos, and political essays that they produced as members of groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Congress of African People, Farmer reveals how black women activists reimagined black womanhood, challenged sexism, and redefined the meaning of race, gender, and identity in American life.

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