Feminism 101 for Girls: A Report Back

17 Nov


Dear CFC Community,

Sunday November 14th was a day I had dreamed about for sixteen years.  I took my first Women’s Studies courses second semester senior year at Spelman College with the formidable feminist scholars and teachers Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, and Dr. Kim Wallace-Sanders. The entire semester I thought why am I learning about this “feminism” now when I needed it in high school.  Well, this past Sunday we were able to introduce “feminism” to ten black teenage girls from Atlanta and it was more amazing than I could have ever dreamed. Image


Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall was there to see a generation of scholars, some of whom she trained in black feminism, share the way we view the world with the next generation of girls.  Even more important, these young ladies shared their ideas and perspectives with us on a range of issues and then thanked us for letting them speak their minds.  How great is that!

Thank you, all the supporters who contributed financially, reposted the blog, and sent kind words and well wishes.  I want to thank the facilitators: Mashadi Matabane, Chanel Craft, and Asha French for your fantastic patient thoughtful facilitation.  Thank you Nicole Franklin and Lorraine McCall for making arrangements for the participants to come and for the continuous work that you do with young black girls in your work and spare time.  Shout out to Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown and SolHot for modeling good pedagogy and your ongoing commitment to girls.


I want to thank NWSA for allowing us to bring young girls into this powerful space.  I am not certain, but I think this may have been the first time there were girls included in the schedule of the National Women’s Studies Association conference. Thank you CFs and allies for participating and providing much needed support prior to, during, and after the workshop. Everything was fabulous, especially the dance circle close-out.


I feel so blessed and I can’t wait to do it again.  Next up–Feminist Saturday School for Girls!

Sheri Davis-Faulkner

A Daughter Named Beautiful

by Asha French

It doesn’t take long to return to your mother-tongue. I learned that when, after a long journey through academia (read: lessons of the white fathers), Professor Beverly Guy Sheftall opened the door to black feminism for me.

ImageFrom this ideological stance, I was able to more clearly articulate the way that my mother had taught me to survive as a grown up black woman and the ways that the academy had tried to make me forget. I believe that when we teach feminism to young girls and women, we affirm and encourage the very best of the mother-wit they already own.

On Saturday, we tried to open the doors. In a small period of time, girls went from spouting Moynihanisms to writing messages of encouragement to Amber Cole as members of her “crew.” Many of the girls sounded like our mothers. They said things like, “We are all fully human, no matter our skin color” and “It’s okay to have a voice” and “You think I ain’t smart because of the way I talk, but I AM” and “I only have a mother and I am VERY loved.” One girl had a daughter named Beautiful, and I believe that says it all.

9 Responses to “Feminism 101 for Girls: A Report Back”

  1. M.Makeda November 17, 2011 at 10:32 PM #

    yea! congrats! so inspiring! feminist saturday school sounds right on target.

    • alexis November 18, 2011 at 9:24 AM #

      Yay!!! Congrats!!!! And Sheri…if you want… I’d be down to share lessons and experiences from our Saturday Survival School program here in Durham!!!


  2. Jessica November 18, 2011 at 12:58 AM #

    Incredible! Are you willing to share some the of activities you did with the teens?

  3. Jennifer Freeman Marshall November 18, 2011 at 11:39 AM #

    Congratulations on a successful event!

  4. withoutscene November 18, 2011 at 12:15 PM #

    From practice to theory and back again! Fantastic and desperately needed.

  5. Beverly Guy Sheftall November 19, 2011 at 11:55 PM #

    It was a delight being there at the beginning; sorry I had to leave. When will you do it again?

  6. dbza November 21, 2011 at 8:52 PM #


  7. micahblaise December 3, 2011 at 6:23 AM #

    wow…sounds like an amazing time for you and the girls. SO inspiring.

    i am about to start a “power club” at the title one, majority black middle school where i teach…the express purpose is to create a safe space for students to explore systems of domination, find their own power and create social change. can we be in contact about what you did in feminism 101? it would be incredibly helpful!

    thank you!


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