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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. John's chapter.

The idea and movement of feminism in America has been around for a very long time. Throughout the course of America’s history, women have been marginalized. In return to the lack of equal rights, women began to fight and advocate for feminism, which can be defined as “the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes” (Britannica). However, when fighting for equality, Black women have often been left out of the equation. 

Because of the different injustices that Black women face compared to other racial groups, Black women had to start their own fight for equality, and we are still fighting for it to this day. In this article, I will be guiding you through a brief rundown of the history and inception of the Black feminist movement in the United States, while also linking great resources to learn more about this subject. Let’s get into it: 

In order to understand Black feminism, we must be able to understand what “intersectionality” is. The term was formally presented by legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989. Intersectionality “refers to the complex way in which gender, race, and other social categories influence an individual’s life outcome” (Now.org). Intersectionality is a vital term to understand in regard to Black feminism because it is a huge component of the movement.  

One extremely important Black feminist group who saw intersectionality as an integral part of their movement was the Combahee River Collective. The group was formed in the 1970’s, and they believed that intersectionality was also an intricate part of distinguishing their movement from the white feminists because, “the major source of difficulty in our political work is that we are not just trying to fight oppression on one front or even two, but instead to address a whole range of oppressions. We do not have racial, sexual, heterosexual, or class privilege to rely on, nor do we even have the minimal access to resources and power that groups who possess anyone of these types of privilege have” (Blackpast).  

The idea and movement of Black feminism has been around since the 1880’s, but the movement didn’t heavily pick up until the late 1960s. During this time, a second wave of the American’s women’s movement began. However, when this second wave started, Black women were left out due to other “isms”, such as racism and elitism. Black women being left out has led us to the modern idea and movement of Black feminism that we have today!

Black feminism has three foundational principles:

Happy Women’s History Month and happy learning!


Feminisms, B. (2021, March 8). A brief history of black feminism in the United States. Blackfeminisms.com. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://blackfeminisms.com/black-feminism/ 

Feminisms, B. (2021, February 20). How black women’s clubs started the Black Feminist Movement in the United States. Blackfeminisms.com. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://blackfeminisms.com/black-feminist-clubs/ 

Posted on April 9, 2021 B. K. (2021, April 9). The original activists: Black feminism and the Black Feminist Movement. National Organization for Women. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://now.org/blog/the-original-activists-black-feminism-and-the-black-feminist-movement/ 

The Revolutionary Practice of Black Feminisms. National Museum of African American History and Culture. (2021, December 8). Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/revolutionary-practice-black-feminisms 

 /*. (2019, August 29). (1977) the Combahee River Collective Statement •. •. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/combahee-river-collective-statement-1977/ 

Wada, contributed by: K. (2020, February 6). National Black Feminist Organization (1973-1976) •. •. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/national-black-feminist-organization-1973-1976/

Amaiya Sancho

St. John's '25

Hi! My name is Amaiya Sancho, I'm from Columbia, Maryland, and I am the Vice President/Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus St. John’s. I am a Communications major, with three minors in Social Justice, Italian, and International Studies. Writing has always been a passion of mine, so I'm more than excited to be a part of HerCampus at St. John's!