Black feminism event held for Women’s History Month

Ryan Collins

Three people discussed black feminists in history and their achievements, along with modern gender and racial issues, Thursday evening in the Student Center.

The event consisted of three lectures and was put on by the Women’s Liberation Collective as part of Women’s History Month.

“Republicans continue to chip away and demolish women’s rights,” said Beth Vild, a member and leader in the Women’s Liberation Collective at Kent State.

Vild talked about the traditional white feminists and how feminist women of color are often overlooked.

“I think it is important for the university community to understand that it was not only white women who were doing important things and challenging the status quo,” said Christina McVay, a lecturer in English.

McVay spoke at the event about Ida B. Wells and her use of journalism to protest the lynching of black people.

“This is not a woman who kept her mouth shut. That’s why I like her,” McVay said.

Denise Harrison, lecturer in English, talked about Frances Harper, an abolitionist and poet, and her achievements through speaking and writing.

“One of the things that she was challenged by was that people who talked about her speaking talked about how poised she was, how eloquent she was and that it was hard for them to believe that she was actually a black person,” Harrison said.

Harrison said Harper spoke of the need for the African-American community to create literature and history so the black community would have some kind of historical record and identity.

The third speaker was Cinnamon Small, graduate appointee in Pan-African Studies, who talked about Mamie Garvin Fields, an author and member of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, Inc. Small related Fields’ memoir, “Lemon Swamp and Other Places: A Carolina Memoir” to oral history and its importance.

“I would argue, as a teacher in Pan-African Studies, that there were many, many women of color … who took more risks to advance the position of women in our society than many of the white so-called feminists did,” McVay said.

Contact Ryan Collins at [email protected].