The Black Activist Women of 100 Years Ago
“Keisha N. Blain offers a dynamic counterhistory of black women’s involvement in black nationalist activism in the first half of the 20th century. Her compelling narrative illustrates the historical and cultural significance of black women activists and accounts for the reasons they are absent from mainstream histories of black nationalism. By painting a vivid picture of these women—their lives, means of empowerment, nuanced ideologies, and political beliefs—Blain provides an intriguing look into a story that is often oversimplified.
Much of the book narrates the ways black nationalist women pursued racial separatism and emigration to Liberia. After the decline of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, black women leaders like Amy Ashwood, Mittie Maude Lena Gordon, Amy Jacques Garvey, Ethel Waddell, and Maymie De Mena continued to pursue relocation in the hopes of establishing an autonomous black community free from the threat of white supremacy.