34 Facts About Barbara Smith


Barbara Smith was born on November 16,1946 and is an American lesbian feminist and socialist who has played a significant role in Black feminism in the United States.

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Barbara Smith has taught at numerous colleges and universities for 25 years.

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Barbara Smith has a twin sister, Beverly Smith, who is a lesbian feminist activist and writer.

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Barbara Smith and her fraternal twin sister, Beverly, were born on November 16,1946 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Hilda Beall Smith.

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Barbara Smith's family were all active readers who emphasized education, inside and outside of school.

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Barbara Smith describes her identity as that of a southern woman and credits her family's experience with intense racial trauma in Georgia as a catalyst for her activism.

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In high school, Barbara Smith excelled in honors and AP classes and scored very high on the PSAT.

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Barbara Smith returned to Mount Holyoke for her senior year and graduated in 1969.

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In 1981, Barbara Smith completed all but the dissertation for her doctoral studies at the University of Connecticut.

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Barbara Smith grew up in a deeply segregated society, Smith developed a political consciousness from a young age.

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Barbara Smith describes the murder of Bruce Klunder, an activist and minister, as a catalytic force behind her involvement with the Cleveland movement.

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Barbara Smith attended several speeches by Martin Luther King Jr.

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In 1965, Barbara Smith matriculated at Mount Holyoke College, where she was one of the few Black students.

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Barbara Smith quickly became involved with the Civil Actions Group, which, among other issues, was involved in organizing against the Vietnam War.

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Barbara Smith settled in Boston after receiving an MA in literature from the University of Pittsburgh.

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Intrigued by the call for attendance to the NBFO's Eastern Regional Conference in 1974, Barbara Smith caucused with women from the Boston area and made contacts in order to establish a Boston NBFO chapter.

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Barbara Smith pursued graduate study in literature in an attempt to seek out women writers of color, but came to terms with the fact that the American literary canon did not include Black women.

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Barbara Smith has said that Kitchen Table's legacy lies in contemporary publishing, as women of color writers such as Walker and Toni Morrison have entered the American literary canon, as well as influencing feminist studies to incorporate intersectionality as a lens of inquiry.

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Barbara Smith continued to write and produced a collection of her essays, articles, and reviews after her involvement in Kitchen Table ended.

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Barbara Smith has since collected her various writings in the anthology The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom.

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Barbara Smith 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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Barbara Smith was critical of second-wave feminism for often neglecting and sometimes intentionally excluding Black women's experiences.

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Barbara Smith was the first scholar to identify a Black lesbian feminist body of literature, although she separated lesbianism from a political identity.

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Since then, Barbara Smith has preferred multi-issue LGBT activism that addresses the oppression faced those who are most marginalized in society.

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Barbara Smith worked during this period with David Kaczynski at New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty on innovative solutions to violent crime.

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Barbara Smith donated her papers to the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn, New York, and gave oral histories of her life to Columbia University and Smith College.

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Barbara Smith appeared in Marlon Riggs's 1994 documentary Black Is.

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Barbara Smith said that "taking the high ground, being honest, and deciding to do something that is objectively frightening" are key components of moral courage.

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Barbara Smith was a Fellow at Radcliffe College's Bunting Institute in 1996 and received a 1994 Stonewall Award for her activism.

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Barbara Smith received the Church Women United's Human Rights Award in 2000 and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

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Barbara Smith established a website, "Stop Islamophobia", to demonstrate support for immigrants and refugees.

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Barbara Smith created a "United States of All" decal and coordinated marches in November and December 2016.

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In February 2020, Barbara Smith endorsed Bernie Sanders for president in the Democratic Party primaries.

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Editors Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks worked with Barbara Smith to explore her life from her childhood to her recent work as an elected official.

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