Race Matters? Consciousness Raising and African American Feminism in 1970s Chicago

Saturday, January 5, 2013: 2:50 PM
Gallier Room A (Sheraton New Orleans)
Voichita Ileana Nachescu, Raritan Valley Community College
Consciousness-raising groups, the preferred organizing method of
Second Wave feminism, have been misrepresented as including primarily
white women. In my paper, I revisit this narrative. I focus on the
National Alliance of Black Feminists, which was active in Chicago
between 1976 and 1982 and organized consciousness-raising groups for
Black women and men. Based on archival research and oral history
interviews, I examine the activities of the National Alliance of Black
Feminists such as the Alternative School, various activist projects,
and their contribution to the Women's Liberation Movement in 1970s
Chicago. I argue that consciousness-raising groups and
assertiveness-training seminars played a crucial part in the life of
the organization, offering African American women a way of enacting
feminism in their daily lives and within their communities.