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“Black Women and Black Power” by Rhonda Williams

Throughout history, women, primarily the Black, were not respected in most Western countries, including the United States. They were scorned and always put in a situation where their voices could not be heard. Until recently, they were not also allowed to carry out critical national activities such as voting. In the 1960s, Black women saw the need to project their voice and gain respect in society, organized themselves into groups, and shouted “black power,” a slogan that threatened the patriarchal world (Williams, 2008). Having been exposed to various foundational experiences in her college life, Williams opted to study the marginalized people’s history through her article “Black Women and Black Power.”

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Williams presents valuable insights about the experiences that black people faced in their quest for fair treatment. Her study on issues in the 20th century offers a comprehensive and significant understanding of how the most controversial social movements by black people changed American democracy. Few literary works go back to history and analyze some of these issues. In this regard, “Black Women and Black Power” can be viewed as an essential article to have ever been written.

Williams explores the history of the United States and, more importantly, understands that black people were unfairly treated. The article stated that “The black people lacked the freedom to express themselves, thus being unable to execute most important life activities” (Williams, 2008, p. 23). Based on my understanding, there are various ways through which American history could be understood, other than exploited people’s stories and experiences. Although the article’s scope is much broad and critically looks at the issues at hand, it could be much more enjoyable if it focuses on issues that bring a more comprehensive American history overview.

There is a high demonstration of knowledge and ability to connect similar events throughout the article. With this being the case, Williams can be viewed as a highly knowledgeable historian. The paper connects black Americans’ historical issues with the ongoing struggle for black liberalization in the United States. With the incorporation of passion and excellent skills, the article offers a robust understanding of the black movements in the 20th century and how they contributed to the substantial change in the 21st century.

Although a full recognition of black power has not been evident in most parts of the United States, it can be seen that some minimal changes have been realized. For example, the United States Constitution recognizes black people and can run most of their activities independently. This movement in the 20th century can also be viewed as a mother to the famous Black Lives Matter in the United States (Williams, 2008). The two slogans bear significant similarities, with the two touching on black lives and society’s need to recognize and respect their existence.

Throughout the “Black Women and Black Power” by Williams, it is evident that the black women started running community-based organizations, and more importantly, they acquired top leadership positions. Various organizations, such as the Black Panther Party, started aligning themselves with women and sexual minorities (Williams, 2008). They exposed a complex gender politics that was determined by patriarchal assumptions.

It could be significant if the Black movement recognized the role black men can play as far as black liberalization is concerned. “Black Women and Black Power” was women-centered, pushed for black women’s issues, and ignored the patriarchal role towards the full realization of freedom among black people. By not involving men in the movement, it is a clear manifestation of gender bias, yet the action is geared towards attaining the freedom of black people. One can assume that men’s involvement in the movement could have signified unity and the push for a common goal. In this regard, some of the issues of racial inequality being experienced in the United States currently could have been addressed a long time ago.

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Throughout the article “Black Women and Black Power,” Williams tries to trace the origins of activism and black power in the 20th century. In her work, she also demonstrates the core tenets critical in appreciating the Black people’s potential. Some of the essential principles derived from the article are economic justice, self-determination, and self-defense. It is a highly recommended article which shows the influences of young activists in the 20th century and presents a valuable synthesis that is important and interesting for both academic and general audiences. Additionally, the article offers useful insights into the significant role of women in pushing for equality and how this has a ripple effect on society. With this regard, the majority of Black women, as well as men, have ended up enjoying their rights and recognition in the leadership category.

There is a need to study history in order to understand the present. Being an essential article focusing on American history, “Black Women and Black Power” by Williams, presents valuable insights about black liberalization in the 20th century. The role of women in the black movement is exemplified, and it has a ripple effect not only during the time but also in modern American society.


Williams, R. Y. (2008). Black women and black power. Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, 22(3), 22-26.

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