This discussion explores allyship with black women political prisoners from liberation struggles of the 1960s-1970s, when the Black Panther Party was considered a vanguard. In 1973, the Communist Party USA formed the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR), co-headed by Angela Davis, her mother Sallye Davis, and mentor Charlene Mitchell. Black communist women leaders were central in delivering legal defense and social support for Black radical activists.
Focusing on Marie Hill, Gail Madden, and Assata Shakur—Davis assisted all three—this talk analyzes the convergences and divergences of advocacy for radical black women who resisted state violence only to find themselves caged. For some, Agape is the highest form of love; it is expressed in political will for the mass or public. Persecuted by police, Panther Peaches, in her brief letter to loving parents, offers a template for framing the precarity and needs of black women resisters as Captive Maternals within liberation struggles.
Joy James is a political theorist and the Ebenezer Fitch Professor of the Humanities at Williams College. Her work focuses on feminism, abolitionism, radical justice movements and the Captive Maternal. James is the editor of: The Angela Y. Davis Reader; New Abolitionists; Imprisoned Intellectuals; and Warfare in the American Homeland. She is the author of Resisting State Violence; Transcending the Talented Tenth; Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics; and Seek-ing the ‘Beloved Community.’ James’s articles include: “The Womb of Western Theory: Trauma, Time Theft and the Captive Maternal.”