Historically, the Negro Woman, has been the guardian, the protector, of the Negro family. From the days of the slave traders down to the present, the Negro woman has had the responsibility of caring for the needs of the family, of shielding it from the blows of Jim Crow insults, of rearing children in an atmosphere of lynch terror, segregation and police brutality, and of fighting for an education for the children. The intensified oppression of the Negro people, which has been the hallmark of the post-war reactionary offensive, cannot therefore but lead to an acceleration of the militancy of the Negro woman.
—Claudia Jones, An End to the Neglect of the Problems of Negro Women
Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without the feminine ferment.
Born in Belmont, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, she emigrated with her family in 1924 at the age of eight to the USA, where poverty and racism led her to develop a race and class consciousness which, in turn, inspired her lifelong dedication to the progress of socialism and the liberation of black people. Like Queen Mother Moore, she joined the movement to free the Scottsboro Boys and while working with the Scottsboro Defense Committee, became associated with the Communist Party, which she readily joined.
By 1948, she had been elected to the Committee of the Communist Party of USA and was editor for Negro Affairs on the Daily Worker, the party's newspaper. She became an acknowledged leader and served as an inspiration to communist women.
Concerned with black nationalism as well as socialism, Claudia Jones became the standard bearer for Negro women, especially domestic workers. She denounced and attacked the triple oppression of sex, race, and class faced by black women. In her famous essay, An End to the Neglect of the Problems of Negro Women, she denounced both black and white male chauvinism, and chided white women for aiding and abetting these attitudes and abdicating their responsibility to black women. In the essay, she extrapolated the plight and treatment of black domestic workers to that of black women as a whole. Continued
Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist, Harry Haywood, Lakeview Press, 1978.
Claudia Jones: A Life in Exile, Marika Sherwood, Donald Hinds &, Colin Prescot, Lawrence & Wishart, 2000.
Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent: From the Ancient Egyptian to the Present, Margaret Busby (ed.), Ballantine Books, 1992.
Women, Race & Class, Angela Y. Davis, Random House, 1983.
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BBCi's Historic Figures: Claudia Jones
History Matters' "I Never Met a Black Person Who Was in the Communist Party Because of the Soviet Union:" Jack O'Dell on Fighting Racism in the 1940s
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