An Apparatus for Negro Women: Black Women’s Organizing, Communism, and the Institutional Spaces of Radical Pan-African Thought
Abstract

Abstract:

This article examines the activities and ideas of black women Communists Grace Campbell and Williana Burroughs as Pan-African intellectuals. Campbell established key Harlem-based formations, which facilitated black radicals’ thinking about racial oppression in terms of housing, health, and childcare. Burroughs drew on her experiences in these formations when she became the first black woman to participate in an international Communist gathering in Moscow in 1928. While neither theorized an intersectional approach to race, gender, and class, their activism informed important Communist organizations. Rather than make a claim of intellectual or political origins, this article argues that Campbell, Burroughs, and other black women Communists created the conditions of possibility for black women such as Claudia Jones, who would go on to theorize her notions of super-exploitation and triple oppression, and emerge as one of the most important radical Pan-Africanist intellectuals in Harlem and London.