The Elma Lewis Center launched “Black Feminist Thought 101” on our social media platforms during Black History Month 2017, to share readings, audiovisual materials and other resources about Black feminist scholarship and organizing. It is important to study and recognize the Black women theorists and activists whose work is central to discussions on race, gender, sexuality, power and oppression, and to insure that we are respecting their legacy and applying their ideas appropriately. The Center is curating this project using the hashtag #ElmaTaughtUs on Facebook and Twitter. Join us every Tuesday to learn about intersectionality, womanism, Pan-Africanist women and much more. Welcome to Black Feminist Thought 101. Class is officially in session!


What is Intersectionality?


Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term in 1989 to explain how systems of oppression interact and influence each other as reflected in the lived experiences of Black women. Crenshaw’s work highlights how Black women are silenced and erased when analyses of discrimination focus on categories like race, gender and class as mutually exclusive identities.

The Combahee River Collective was a Boston-based organization made up of Black queer feminists active between 1974 and 1980. In their famous statement, they described the “simultaneous” nature of oppressions that women of color experience. Their work is one of the precursors to Crenshaw’s intersectionality theory.

“We are of course particularly committed to working on those struggles in which race, sex, and class are simultaneous factors in oppression.”

Read the Combahee River Collective Statement here.

Executive Director Judy Pryor-Ramirez discusses the Women’s March and the need to address the way women of color experience misogyny as it intersects with other systems of oppression. Read her comments, along with the reflections of other Emerson College faculty and staff here



Making Lemons out of Lemonade

Candice Benbow compiled the #LemonadeSyllabus in May 2016 with the help of over 70 contributors. The syllabus and social media campaign brings together more than 200 creative and critical works that explore themes from Beyoncé’s album, including Black feminism, womanism, and the African diaspora. Lemonade Syllabus is the definition of Black Girl Magic. Click here to access the full syllabus.

Find our contributions to the Lemonade Syllabus below.




Did you know that in Boston, Black girls were 11 times more likely to be subjected to discipline than white girls between 2011 and 2012? The African American Policy Forum published the Black Girls Matter report in 2015 to shed light on the injustice faced by Black girls in US schools.

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Black Queer and Trans Women

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