By Duchess Harris (auth.)
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Extra info for Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Clinton
It is so funny. If you knew the people involved, you would understand that it was never an issue. We were lesbians. We were not going to be repressed or oppressed in a group that we were organizing for it. We had a couple of women who were bisexual in the group and they were A HISTORY OF BLACK AMERICAN FEMINISM 27 fine with us. At least I can say they were fine with me. Because the women who were integral to organizing Combahee were lesbians; it was just done, it was just as it was. We were the women who came together and we made it a part of our politics that we thought that we were open to all women, Lesbians, straight women and bisexual women.
It was depressing. It was frightening. It was exhausting. Yes, I think that metaphor of a river that begins in a dark swamp and small spaces and opens out I think that is quite apt. I was excited because I assumed that the 80s would be similar in their degree of growth and energy as the 70s had been. But as it turned out, I was not right about that. The 1980s turned out to be the Reagan years, and political organizing became increasingly difficult. Public sentiment moved to the right, and the economic situation got even worse for those who were supposed to have benefited from trickle-down economics.
We were girls who early on either had been sexually abused or physically assaulted and never wanted that to happen to us again. So we were bringing a sort of reality politics, like you know I don’t want this to happen to me or my children. There must be a way to talk about this. A HISTORY OF BLACK AMERICAN FEMINISM 25 Combahee’s Community Activism: Taking Feminism beyond the Theoretical All of the Combahee women were involved in other Civil Rights and women’s issues groups and there was a lot of interconnection among the groups and their issues.
Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Clinton by Duchess Harris (auth.)