Words of Fire

An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought

“In this pathbreaking collection of articles, Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall has taken us from the early 1830s to contemporary times. . . . She has refused to cut off contemporary African American women from the long line of sisters who have righteously struggled for the liberation of African American women from the dual oppressions of racism and sexism.” —from the epilogue by Johnnetta B. Cole

The first major anthology to trace the development, from the early 1800s to the present, of black feminist thought in the United States, Words of Fire is Beverly Guy-Sheftall’s comprehensive collection of writings, in the feminist tradition, of more than sixty African American women. From the pioneering work of abolitionist Maria Miller Stewart and anti-lynching crusader Ida Wells-Barnett to the writings of contemporary feminist critics Michele Wallace and bell hooks, black women have been writing about the multiple jeopardies—racism, sexism, and classicm—that have made it imperative for them to forge a brand of feminism uniquely their own.

List of Contributors:

  • Margaret Walker Alexander
  • Sadie Tanner Mosell Alexander
  • Frances Beale
  • Shirley Chisholm
  • Cheryl Clarke
  • Pearl Cleage
  • Johnnetta B. Cole
  • Patricia Hill Collins
  • The Combahee River Collective
  • Anna Julia Cooper
  • Angela Davis
  • Alice Dunbar-Nelson
  • Julia A.J. Foote
  • Amy Jacques Garvey
  • Paula Giddings
  • Jacquelyn Grant
  • Patricia Haden
  • Evelynn Hammonds
  • Lorraine Hansberry
  • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
  • Elizabeth Higginbotham
  • Darlene Clark Hine
  • bell hooks
  • Claudia Jones
  • June Jordan
  • Gloria Joseph
  • Florynce “Flo” Kennedy
  • Deborah K. King
  • Linda La Rue
  • Audre Lorde
  • Tracye Matthews
  • Elise Johnson McDougald
  • Donna Middleton
  • Gertrude Bustill Mossell
  • Pauli Murray
  • Barbara Omolade
  • Barbara Ransby
  • Beth E. Richie
  • Patricia Robinson
  • Barbara Smith
  • Maria Miller Stewart
  • Ula Taylor
  • Mary Church Terrell
  • Pauline Terrelonge
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Alice Walker
  • Michele Wallace
  • Mary Ann Weathers
  • Ida Wells-Barnett
  • E. Frances White
  • Margaret Wilkerson
  • Praise

    “The indefatigable Beverly Guy-Sheftall has put together a breathtaking sweep of African American feminist thought in one indispensable volume.”
    —Elizabeth Spelman, professor of philosophy, Smith College