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Beverly Guy-Sheftall: All Our Oppressions are Interconnected

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“Black feminism is the political idea that all forms of oppression, which are global and persistent, are interconnected and structural: white supremacy, racism, heterosexism, ableism, class disparities,” said Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, referencing bell hooks. “All of those systems of oppression are connected, and we experience them simultaneously. We have to dismantle all of those structural systems and cannot prioritize one over the other,” she said. Using this lens, Dr. Guy-Sheftall drew a long history of Black feminist activism, including Ida B. Wells and her anti-lynching campaign, the organizers of the Atlanta washerwomen’s strike of 1881, Rosa Parks’ anti-rape organizing, and of course the work of the Combahee River Collective. Her conversation with Black Work Talk co-hosts Steven Pitts and Sheri Davis, Guy-Sheftall dug into this history, the ways power functions within and outside the Black community, and how a Black feminist understanding can shape organizing praxis.

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