In 1981 Filomina Chioma Steady boldly proclaimed that black women, particularly those from the African continent, were the original feminists. In her now classic anthology, The Black Woman Cross-Culturally, Steady argued that “true feminism” stemmed from “an actual experience of oppression, a lack of the socially prescribed means of ensuring one’s wellbeing, and a true lack of access to resources for survival” (36). In her mind, feminism was simply a reaction to oppression, one that resulted in “the development of greater resourcefulness for survival and greater self-reliance.” Two years later the budding Sierra Leonean anthropologist delivered a powerful keynote address on African feminism at a research conference at Howard University organized by the Association of Black Women Historians (Terborg-Penn 1996, xix). This lecture...

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