Words of Fire

An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought

The timeless and essential anthology of Black Feminist thought—showing that Black women have always understood the need for feminism to be intersectional

“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 of Black Feminist thought in the United States, Words of Fire is Beverly Guy-Sheftall’s comprehensive collection of writings by more than sixty Black women. From the pioneering work of abolitionist Maria Miller Stewart and anti-lynching crusader Ida Wells-Barnett to the writings of feminist critics Michele Wallace and bell hooks, Black women have been writing about the multiple jeopardies—racism, sexism, and classism—that have made it imperative to forge a brand of feminism uniquely their own. In the words of Audre Lorde, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”—Words of Fire provides the tools to dismantle the interlocking systems that oppress us and to rebuild from their ashes a society of true freedom.

Contributors include:

  • Shirley Chisholm
  • The Combahee River Collective
  • Anna Julia Cooper
  • Angela Davis
  • Alice Dunbar-Nelson
  • Lorraine Hansberry
  • bell hooks
  • Claudia Jones
  • June Jordan
  • Audre Lorde
  • Beth E. Richie
  • Barbara Smith
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Alice Walker
  • Michele Wallace
  • Ida Wells-Barnett
  • 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

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