African & African-American Feminism, The Black Woman's Search for her Identity and Role in Society.
Although women have been involved to some degree in all kinds of organizations in Africa and America from church groups to liberation movements, in many ways it was the trade union movements that became the spawning ground for women organizers and in which women first rose to positions of importance in Africa. Black women in America moved forward in the attempts of showing the importance, necessity and urgency of a movement and addressing the ways racism, sexism and classism all work together to perpetuate each other. They addressed the needs that were ignored by white women and black men in the women's and liberation movement. The struggle to correlate these two areas of black women's lives encompuses the goals and mission of each movement and therefore allows black women to be whole in their personal and political lives. The movement spawned several important organizations in the early 1970's that are committed to struggle against all forms of oppression. The organizing of women in Africa began in the 1920s, principally in the laundry, clothing, mattress, furniture and baking industries. While several black national federations were formed and dissolved, the one that endured was the Non-European Trade Union Federation, formed in 1928. Their position was that racial divisions should not split a union. They sought free compulsory education for all races and an end to employment discrimination by incorporating education and training for all races. Women were being both organized and trained to lead. However, black women who participated in the liberation movement and the women's movement in America were often discriminated against in several different ways. They were discriminated against economically, sexually, and racially. The liberation movement offered sexual discrimination towards the women through issues that mostly concerned the status and position of black men.