How We Get Free

Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective

Formed in 1974, the Combahee River Collective was a radical Black feminist organization. Its members staked a position against “racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression,” distinguishing them from contemporary white feminist organizations—which routinely failed to grapple with racism within their ranks or to attend to antiracist initiatives—and from the Black liberation movement, which was dominated by men and often espoused markedly antifeminist positions (15). This brief book includes their statement, as well as interviews with members of the collective and other notable Black women activists. It’s not surprising that the statement continues to be extremely relevant; but I was also struck by how familiar it felt—a testament to these and other Black women who have labored to make clear how systems of oppression work. It’s on the rest of us to join them in dismantling those systems.