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Say It Loud: 9 Black Women in the Black Power Movement…

Melody Blossom| For Harriet   in 
May 29, 2015

This semester, I was part of a course that focused on radical women in social movements. We studied the Black Power Movement, the Black Panther Party (BPP), and the involvement of women during this time.

The Black Panther Party, founded in the 1960s, was notorious for being a revolutionary organization that fought for the liberation of Blacks in the United States. With the brilliant activists, community organizers, writers, and thinkers who graced its membership, the BPP is primarily regarded as a male-dominated space and projected itself as such. However, like in most revolutionary movements, there were many women who served important and influential roles. These women made sure they occupied leadership positions, and implemented programs that were vital to the success of the Party and the overall uplifting of the Black community. They also called out sexism within the BPP, never afraid to make their presence known as women.

However, their faces seldom grace historical narratives about the Black Panther Party. This list is meant to shine some light on a handful of these women. Although women initially occupied few formal governance positions within the BPP, they played strategic roles as male leadership of the party increasingly faced political repression, incarceration, or exile. With information from the article, “Engendering the Black Freedom Struggle Revolutionary Black Womanhood and the Black Panther Party in the Bay Area, California” and other sources, we look at their contributions below.


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