“In a Solid Bond of Unity”: Anticolonial Feminism in the Cold War Era
Abstract:This article contributes to an emerging body of literature addressing the issue of women’s activism in twentieth-century anticolonial movements. In the post–World War II era, African American and South African leftist women attempted to unite feminist movements against Jim Crow in the United States and apartheid in South Africa. I argue that although historians have often pointed to tensions between nationalist and feminist goals in postwar movements for self-determination as the reason transnational organizing so often failed, they have overlooked the significance of anticommunist government intervention in this organizing. Thus, an exploration of the short-lived link between the African American Sojourners for Truth and Justice (STJ) and South Africa’s African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) complicates current notions about nationalism’s relationship to feminism, and feminism’s relationship to the failure of nationalist causes.