Feminism in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements

In my final essay I chose to talk about the article we read earlier in the semester, Where Were the Women in the March on Washington? by Jennifer Scanlon and I realized that there wasn’t a prominent disconnect between men and women in just the Civil Rights Movement, but also the Black Power Movement. Women of color have always been dealt the worse hand in the US because they are a part of two different groups that are both discriminated against heavily in the US, but simultaneously. In the black power movement, I was specifically thinking of the author Zora Neale Hurston, who most notably wrote the book Their Eyes Were Watching God. This book handled the fictional story of a black woman and her life growing up in the south. The character faced both ends of discrimination, gender and racial, which is a similar testament to the author, Hurston. Initially, Hurston worked closely with famous Harlem authors such as Langston Hughes, but when she began to write more radically and show her opinions, they were rejected by society, both white and black, and she was outcasted by Hughes and the other Harlem writers she had become a colleague with. I find it very ironic how both the black power and civil rights movements were for freedom and equality, and yet within the black community, there was so much rampant sexism. I think this shows how even though there has been a great amount of progress in our country in terms of human equality, there is always more work to be done.

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