The Combahee River Collective Statement (1977)
The Combahee River Collective (CRC) was a radical Black feminist organization formed in 1974. It was named after Harriet Tubman’s 1863 raid on the Combahee River in South Carolina that freed an estimated 750 enslaved people. The CRC formed as a radical alternative to the National Black Feminist Organization (NBFO). The NBFO itself had formed in response to what Black feminists believed was the failure of white feminist organizations to adequately respond to racism in the United States. However, the identification of racism alone as an issue in the lives of Black women was politically insufficient as an analysis or as a plan of action. In the CRC statement, members outlined their key ideology, which was that structures of oppression were “interlocking” or happening simultaneously, thus creating new measures of inequality. In other words, Black women could not quantify their oppression only in terms of sexism or racism, or of homophobia experienced by Black lesbians. The merging or enmeshment of those identities played a role in how Black women experienced inequality and oppression. This section of CRC’s statement details the political ideology of the organization, titled, “What We Believe.”
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