#80: Barbara Smith


Barbara SmithSince its inception, there have been problems with the feminist movement speaking mostly to the needs and desires of middle-class white women. Despite the not-always-warm reception mainstream white feminists have given them, women of color have been movement leaders in many cases. One of those cases is Barbara Smith, a feminist writer and activist since the 1960s.

Barbara was born in 1946. As a teenager, she was involved in the Civil Rights Movement in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended Mount Holyoke College, graduating in 1969, then went on to take a masters degree in 1971. By the time she got out of school, Barbara was involved in the feminist movement though Black feminism. (Her twin sister worked at Ms. magazine.) In 1975, Barbara reorganized the Boston chapter of the National Black Feminist Organization. She then went on in 1980 to co-found (with Audre Lorde) Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the first U.S. publisher for Women of Color.

Smith carefully defines herself as a feminist, a radical, a socialist, a lesbian. Her writings have been included in such momentous feminist works as The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History and This Bridge Called My Back. She has also lectured widely and written for magazines including Ms. and The Nation.

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