The New York Times is featuring on its website various collections of curated historical photographs. This week’s collection (here) includes an essay by Rebecca Carroll: “What I See: Gloria Steinem Shoulder to Shoulder with Women of Color.”
Here is an excerpt from Ms. Carroll’s essay:
I have struggled with trust in my interactions with white women. This is among the topics I’m exploring in depth in my upcoming memoir, “Surviving the White Gaze.” So it is no small thing for me to say that Gloria Steinem, not so much the icon as the woman, is among the very few I trust resolutely, instinctively and without conflict or concern. And this was before I saw these archival photographs.
The Times’s archives are rich with pictures of Gloria. They weren’t edited to reflect a certain truth, and yet the truth of the images is evident. Photograph after photograph of Gloria show her with so many of the black women she worked with during the 1970s — Florynce Kennedy, Evelyn Cunningham, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jane Galvin-Lewis, Shirley Chisholm, Fannie Lou Hamer — wherein we see the embodiment of intersectional feminism. In each photo, there is ease and intent, focus and fury and, perhaps above all, a nearly palpable, unprompted sense of racial solidarity that makes me wonder why it’s still so hard for us to get it right today.
The essay and photos are worth a look!
Rebecca Carroll is on Twitter @rebel19. She is the author of several books including Saving the Race: Conversations on Du Bois from Collective Memoir of Souls and Sugar in the Raw: Voice of Young Black Girls in America. More info on Ms. Carroll’s work is available at her website here.