By Meghan Lee, MUTV-23 News Reporter

 

Columbia, Mo. – The Mizzou Freshman Action Team hosted a discussion last Thursday on Africana Womanism with Dr. Clenora Hudson-Weems. Mizzou FAT, a branch of The Legion of Black Collegians, held the event over Zoom. 

Dr. Hudson-Weems is an English Professor at the University of Missouri and has also written numerous publications on the Black experience in America. She coined the term ‘Africana Womanism’ in the mid-1980’s to describe a distinct ideology for women of African descent. 

The discussion began with an explanation of Africana Womanism. According to Hudson-Weems, Africana Womanism is a separate ideology and theory from womanism or feminism. Its primary concern addresses issues of race, before gender. 

“It’s a prioritization of race and class and gender, that’s the order,” she explained. “It deals with the race factor first and foremost.”

Dr. Hudson-Weems went on to stress that although Africana Womanism is an ideology specifically designed for women of African descent, one of its core tenets is working with both Black men and women to improve the circumstances of their communities. 

“We are a collective group,” Dr. Hudson-Weems said, “We are not in isolation. Men, women, and children.”

Further, Dr. Hudson-Weems read her poem on the subject, “I Got Your Back, Boo.” The poem examines the three tenets of Africana Womanism (race, class and gender) and the struggles for justice surrounding them. The poem emphasizes that Africana Womanism centers around family and collectivism. 

“We are in concert with the male in the struggle,” she said. “It’s a family-centered collective struggle.”

At the end of the event, Dr. Hudson-Weems took two questions from Mizzou FAT students. The first student asked about how to ‘heal the rift’ between Black men and women. The answer, according to Dr. Hudson-Weems, comes back to collectivism. 

“Show we care for each other, to know we have something in common,” she said. “You have a vision you need to bring to fruition to get to our true freedom […] we can’t afford to break down on the gender line.”

The second student wondered how Black men, as well as non-Black allies, could participate in Africana Womanism. Dr. Hudson-Weems was quick to respond. 

“Buy a book and call me!”

 

 

Edited by Rachel Henderson

About Henderson, Rachel (MU-Student)

View all posts by Henderson, Rachel (MU-Student)