Last month, when I was looking to try reading Angela Davis’ work, Women, Race, & Class was the primary recommendation. At the time, my local libraries were closed and this one was heavily borrowed via e-reader, so I picked up the available Are Prisons Obsolete? It was very good, giving me a concise history of penitentiaries and made me reconsider prison abolition. But I was still eager to get to this one and got excited when I saw it available.
It was worth the wait.
Davis does such a phenomenal job of breaking down history in a way to deduce the eternal dilemma of *how we got here.* Moving from the time of slavery and the early 19th century rise of the suffragette movement, she traces how black women have worked with and been let down by white women, while making clear distinctions for class and labor. She traces this all the way to the 70s, to the movement for reproductive rights and reforming domestic house work.
What I admire about Angela Davis’ work so much is that she uses history as a polemic but also as an exhortation. Here, it is for women to show solidarity with one another, understanding that liberation looks different for others. It makes this book a sort of timeless read because its principles of organizing can be applied even today, despite this having come out decades earlier.
The only issue is Davis doesn’t talk about trans and GNC feminism; this is a very cis- (and often hetero-) centric book. But it’s still excellent. An essential read for this and all times.