Black Panther Elaine Brown Speaks on International Women’s Day in 1973

Curated by Angela D. LeBlanc-Ernest, Tracye Matthews, Mary Phillips and Robyn C. Spencer- The Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project

On March 8, 2017, International Women’s Day, women in the US will join activists around the world in a #daywithoutwomen in order to forge a movement of women that is “anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-heterosexist and anti-neoliberal.”  What is being named “feminism for the 99%” in 2017 has deep roots in Black history. IPHP has curated a selection of primary sources from the Black Panther Party to recover this history. Almost 45 years ago on International Women’s Day in 1973, Elaine Brown articulated an intersectional analysis of poverty and feminism that centered on the care of children. The audio of this speech can be found in the University of California at Berkeley’s H.K. Yuen Collection. Newspaper articles from The Black Panther and Berkeley Barb flesh out the context for Brown’s speech and provide evidence for the March 10 child care protests that she referenced. Bobby Seale, who, like Brown, was running for office, was intricately involved in this conversation. The selection of sources below demonstrate how the Panthers seamlessly incorporated International Women’s Day into their larger political platform during the heyday of their election campaigns.

Key points from Elaine Brown’s speech on March 8, 1973:

  • Black women and white women faced oppression differently.

“It’s not of the same, nor of the same degree, nor of the same type or of the same character as that suffered by Black women general.”

  • Black women and other women of color’s concerns should be centered in the larger women’s movement.

“If you see the absence of Black and Third World women. Maybe they are doing something else. This conference needs to address itself more to concrete issues.”

  • Issues of childcare were central to “Black and Third World” people and one of the campaign issues highlighted by Panther candidates.

“Come out and demonstrate about the cutbacks in childcare. In Oakland 76% of the school population is Black and Mexican American.”

Listen here: for Track 13: Elaine Brown. (1:16) “Two slaves are both oppressed” … talk on race and women’s oppression on International Women’s Day, March, 1973. Symposium recorded live.

Berkeley Barb, Volume17, Issue10, March 9-15, 1973pix1

“Children’s Crusade Begins; Thousands Protest Child Care Cuts in Bay Area” The Black Panther 17 March 1973: 3, 12.

TBP Mar 17 1973 p3 pt 1 final

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s