Radical Sisters

Radical Sisters : Second-Wave Feminism and Black Liberation in Washington, D.C.

3.84 (13 ratings by Goodreads)
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Radical Sisters is a fresh exploration of the ways that 1960s political movements shaped local, grassroots feminism in Washington, D.C. Rejecting notions of a universal sisterhood, Anne M. Valk argues that activists periodically worked to bridge differences for the sake of improving women's plight, even while maintaining distinct political bases. Washington, D.C. is a critical site for studying the dynamics of the feminist movement, not only for its strategic location vis-a-vis the federal government but because in 1970 over seventy percent of the city's population was African American. While most historiography on the subject tends to portray the feminist movement as deeply divided over issues of race, Valk presents a more nuanced account, showing feminists of various backgrounds both coming together to promote a notion of \u0022sisterhood\u0022 and being deeply divided along the lines of class, race, and sexuality. In exploring women's unity (or lack thereof) in the liberation movement, Valk shows how African American women activists, who were primarily focused on racial and economic justice, influenced and provided important opposition to the organizational activities of white women.

Going beyond self-identified Washington feminists to include critics, outsiders, occasional supporters, and those supportive of the movement but not directly affiliated with it, Valk documents interactions between groups working against sexism, racism, and poverty. Radical Sisters uncovers the fruitful, but often divisive, connections between movements for urban change, welfare rights, reproductive control, and black liberation, while detailing their impact on the ideas, ideals, and activities embraced by modern feminism.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 476.27g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 9 b&w Photographs, 1 Line Drawing, 3 Tables
  • 0252077547
  • 9780252077548
  • 1,775,564

Review quote

"This book provides a crucial new perspective on women's activism and on social activism in general. It is a terrific and highly readable addition to the historiography of feminism, and will be welcome to teachers and students alike."--H-Urban "Through meticulous historical exploration of women's political activism in Washington, DC, Valk provides a nuanced analysis of how the synergistic relationships among multiple social movements and the women who moved among them produced radical feminist policies."--Women's Review of Books "Valk's study of women's political activism in Washington D.C., offers new way to think about the various organizations that women formed in the 1960s and 1970s. . . .Beautifully organized. . . . Ambitious in scope, rich in detail, but well worth the effort required to absorb its many insights."--Journal of American History "Valk's in-depth analysis provides a new, more nuanced take on the era. Recommended."--Choice

"Provides a refreshing look at second-wave feminism. . . . Reveals the synergy between practice and theory that shaped feminism during this period. . . . Invites us to rethink what it means to be radical today."--Women's Review of Books
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About Anne M. Valk

Anne M. Valk is associate director of programs for the John Nicholas Brown Center at Brown University.
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Rating details

13 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 23% (3)
4 38% (5)
3 38% (5)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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