The Mothers of Gynecology: Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey

Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey were enslaved women from plantations in and around Montgomery, Alabama. With neither consent nor anesthesia, they were experimented on by Dr. J. Marion Sims in the 1840s. After publishing the results of his “success,” Sims moved to New York to seek fame and fortune. Within a decade, he became known as the Father of Gynecology.  By contrast, Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy fell into history. They changed the world, only to be forgotten by it.

M Adams

M Adams is a community organizer and co-executive director of Freedom Inc. As a queer Black person, Adams has developed and advocated for a strong intersectional approach in numerous important venues. Adams is a leading figure in the Take Back the Land movement. She presented before the United Nations for the Convention on Eliminating Racial Discrimination, and she is also a co-author of Forward from Ferguson and a paper on Black community control over the police. She also authored a piece on intersectionality theory in Why Killing Unarmed Black Folks Is a Queer Issue.

Sevonna Brown

Sevonna Brown is co-executive director at Black Women’s Blueprint. She is a birthworker through Ancient Song Doula Services and the Doula Project. She dedicates her work to the survival strategies that Black women build from rituals, sacred truths, and the ways they honor the intergenerational narratives of their reproductive herstories.

Farah Jasmine Griffin

Farah Jasmine Griffin is the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where she also served as the inaugural Chair of the African American and African Diaspora Studies department. Professor Griffin received her BA in History & Literature from Harvard and her PhD in American Studies from Yale. She has authored and edited eight books altogether. Additionally, Professor Griffin collaborated with composer/pianist Geri Allen and director/actor S. Epatha Merkerson on two theatrical projects.

Imara Jones

Imara Jones (she/her) is a trans woman whose work has won Emmy and Peabody awards, is the creator of TransLash Media. TransLash Media is a cross-platform journalism, personal storytelling, and narrative project that produces content to shift the current culture of hostility toward transgender people in the U.S. In 2019, Jones chaired the first-ever UN High-Level Meeting on Gender Diversity, with over 600 participants. Jones holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Columbia University. 

Bree Newsome

Bree Newsome is an American filmmaker, musician, speaker, and activist from Charlotte, North Carolina. She is well-known for her act of civil disobedience on June 27, 2015, when she was arrested for removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state house grounds. The resulting publicity put pressure on state officials to remove the flag, and it was taken down permanently on July 10, 2015.

Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza is an innovator, strategist, organizer, and author. In 2013, she became the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network. She is also the founder of Black Futures Lab and the Strategy and Partnerships Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Charlene Carruthers

Charlene Carruthers is a Black queer feminist, activist, and organizer. She is passionate about building the capacity of young Black leaders so they are well equipped to fight for liberation. Carruthers’ career in movement work spans more than 15 years, and she has worked with such organizations as Center for Community Change, Color of Change, and Women’s Media Center. In 2013, she became the founding national director of Black Youth Project 100. In 2018, she released her groundbreaking text, Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.

Beth Richie

Beth E. Richie is Head of the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice and Professor of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The emphasis of her scholarly and activist work has been on the ways that race/ethnicity and social position affect women’s experience of violence and incarceration, focusing on the experiences of African American battered women and sexual-assault survivors. Dr. Richie is the author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation (NYU Press, 2012), which chronicles the evolution of the contemporary anti-violence movement during the time of mass incarceration in the United States, and numerous articles concerning Black feminism and gender violence, race and criminal-justice policy, and the social dynamics around issues of sexuality, prison abolition, and grassroots organizations in African American communities. Dr. Richie is a board member of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African Community, the National Network for Women in Prison, and A Call To Men; and a founding member of INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence.

Nikky Finney

Nikky Finney is a poet and activist. Her poetry collections include Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry (2020) and On Head Off & Split (2011), which won the National Book Award. She is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a collective of Black Appalachian poets.