Barbara Smith

“We are certainly damaged people. The question is, finally,
do we use that damage to recognize each other,
to do what work we can together?”

  • Born: November 16th, 1946 Cleveland, Ohio, US
  • Education:
  • Occupation: Scholar, activist, critic, lecturer, author, and publisher
  • Known For: Her role in the Black Feminist movement in the United States
  • Awards: African American Policy Forum Harriet Tubman Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), Lambda Literary Award: Publishing Professional Award, Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College Achievement Award, Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association Sesquicentennial Award, Nomination for Nobel Peace Prize (2005), Fellow at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Scholar-In-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (1995-1996), Church Women United’s Human Rights Award (2000), Stonewall Award for Service to the Lesbian and Gay Community (1994)

Barbara Smith is an American scholar, activist, and writer, known for her significant role in Black feminism. Smith has written numerous essays, reviews, articles, short stories, and literary criticisms discussing inequalities in the US, all gaining wide publication. Smith was a member of the Combahee River Collective, a Black feminist organization that emphasized the intersections of racial, gender, heterosexist, and class oppression in the lives of African Americans and other women of color. Smith also was the first scholar to coin the term “identity politics”, which she used to describe the intersecting modes of identity that create unique forms of oppression for women of color, especially Black lesbian women.


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