Fran Beal

“I was in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. You’re talking about liberation and freedom half the night on the racial side, and then all of a sudden men are going to turn around and start talking about putting you in your place. So in 1968 we founded the SNCC Black Women’s Liberation Committee to take up some of these issues.”

  Photo by Howard Petrick

Photo by Howard Petrick

Fran Beal co-founded the Black Women’s Liberation Committee of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) in 1968. This evolved into the Black Women’s Alliance and then the Third World Women’s Alliance. TWWA developed an analysis that incorporated race, class, gender and an international perspective. In 1969 Beal wrote one of the defining texts on Black Feminism, “Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female.” Beal insisted that black militant men were being ‘white’ and middle class when they enforced unequal gender roles and expected black women to be ‘breeders’ for the revolution.

Beal was an editor of TWWA's newspaper, Triple Jeopardy, and also edited The Black Woman’s Voice for the National Council of Negro Women.  Beal’s feminist activism in the 1970s centered on abortion rights and sterilization abuse, defense of Angela Davis, and anti-Vietnam war efforts. Her subsequent writings have focused on women’s equality, racial and economic justice, and international solidarity.