Black activists you should know
Written by SAFE
Image description: An image of Anita Hill, a Black woman who testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee about sexual harassment she experienced. A the top of the image are the words “Black History and the anti-violence movement.” Below that are the words “Seven leaders who started and shaped the work to end violence for everyone.” At the bottom, next to an exclamation point meant to catch your attention and caution you, are the words “Content warning: These slides contain mentions of slavery, lynching, sexual harassment, and assault.”
Black Americans have a long history of social protest, violence prevention, and fighting oppression. These are just a few of the influential Black activists who have made history as part of the anti-violence movement. SAFE’s work is thanks to the work of these, and many other, Black activists who led the way.
Content warning: the images and language below contain mention of slavery, lynching, sexual harassment, and assault.
Image description: A black and white photo of Harriet Jacobs, a Black woman, sitting in an ornate chair. These words are on the image: “Harriet Jacobs: After escaping slavery, Harriet Jacobs wrote of her personal experience of abuse at the hands of her captors. Her famous work, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” shed light on the sexual violence experienced by enslaved Black women and widened the range of issues discussed with abolition.”
Learn more about Harriet Jacobs here.
Ida B. Wells
Image description: A black and white photo of Ida B. Wells, a Black woman. The image contains the words: “Ida B. Wells was a leader in the anti-lynching movement and helped to bring calls for reform to the White House. She was also a leading voice for women’s suffrage, particularly for Black women, and is credited as a founder of the NAACP. Ida B. Wells”
Learn more about Ida B. Wells here.
Image description: A black and white photo of Claudia Jones, a Black woman, sitting holding a newspaper. The image contains the words: “Claudia Jones. A journalist in the 1960’s, Claudia Jones worked to center Black women in progressive politics. She brought attention to the unique injustices faced by Black women and brought Black women’s voices and experiences to the forefront of political conversations.”
Learn more about Claudia Jones here.
Image description: A black and white photo of Rosa Parks, a Black woman, standing outdoors. The image contains the words: “Before her leadership in the bus protests, Rosa Parks was a sexual assault investigator for the NAACP. She brought national attention to the challenges faced by Black women experiencing violence by forming the Committee for Equal Justice for Recy Taylor. Rosa Parks”
Learn more about Rosa Parks here.
Combahee River Collective
Image description: An image with a photograph of the book cover of “The Combahee River Collective Statement: Black Feminist Organizing iIn The Seventies and Eighties.” The book cover is red. The image contains the words: “This group of Black, feminist lesbians laid the groundwork for intersectional feminism. Their protests throughout the 70’s in Boston brought attention to the otherwise ignored violence toward Black women. Their work, “The Combahee River Collective Statement,” is a foundational piece of intersectional feminism centering Black women in the anti-violence movement.”
Learn more about the Combahee River Collective here.
Image description: An image of Anita Hill, a Black woman, standing with one hand raised wearing a turquoise jacket. The image contains the words: “Nearly three decades before #MeToo, Anita Hill testified before an all-white, all-male Senate Judiciary Committee about the sexual harassment she faced from then-nominee Clarence Thomas. Her brave testimony paved the way for other survivors to speak out against workplace abuse and led to new legislation protecting the rights of people who’ve experienced harassment. Anita Hill”
Image description: An image with a photo of Tarana Burke, a Black woman, standing at a podium. She is wearing a black shirt with the words “me too” on the front in pink text. The image containes the words: “Tarana Burke: Tarana Burke founded the #MeToo movement in 2006, long before it was popularized on social media, to address the inequity of resources for marginalized women experiencing violence. The hashtag has brought light to the epidemic of sexual violence and created a community of survivors around the world.”
Learn more about Tarana Burke here.