I mostly missed this theoretical consideration of the relationship between individual activists and organizational trajectories in Randolph's narration of the "fall" of the NBFO
, which she more or less blames on Kennedy's failure to stick around and guide the group.
While former black women's groups had tried to portray black women as "moral but entirely asexual," the NBFO
took a closer look at contemporary social currents.
The NBFO's 1973 Eastern Regional Conference is a case in point.
Black feminist groups, in Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980, represented by the Third World Women's Alliance (TWWA), the NBFO, the National Association of Black Feminists (NABF), Black Women Organized for Action (BWOA), and the Combahee River Collective, differed from one another in their goals, organizational structures, identity constructions, and boundary formations.
JM: That was one of the issues in NBFO too, wasn't it?
BS: When I got active in this work, it was not through a primarily white organization, but through NBFO, and then Combahee, and then Kitchen Table/Women of Color Press, the first U.S.
In its manifesto, the Collective expressed its `serious disagreements with NBFO
's bourgeois-feminist stance and their lack of a clear political focus' and offered an activist alternative. The Collective, which included Gloria Hull and Margo Okasawa-Rey, later went on to organise against a series of murders targeting black girls and women in the Boston area.
NWRO's position on reproductive rights was consistent with that of many Black women at the time, including the NBFO
, but it preceded mass movements of white and Black women around this issue.
(17) The NBFO
also helped to inspire the founding of the Combahee River Collective in 1974, a Boston-based organization named after a river in South Carolina where Harriet Tubman led an insurgent action that freed 750 slaves.