Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook

By Jennifer Scanlon | Go to book overview

MICHELE WALLACE
(1952-)

Viki Soady

Postcolonial critic of black feminism, culture, art, and literature and their relationship to the dominant discourse, Michele Wallace is the author of three books that track her personal, theoretical process from the alterity of an angry young black feminist in Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman ( 1979), to the assurance of a conveyor of voice for black women in Invisibility Blues: From Pop to Theory ( 1990), to the activism of a designer of "a politics of resistance" for black culture ( Collins 1993, 730) in the anthology Black Popular Culture (coedited with Gina Dent, 1993). As creative writer, teacher, and cultural commentator, Wallace's feminist project is to find a theoretical basis for the voice of black women that neither essentializes them nor subordinates them within the narratives of black men or white culture. Of the fetishism and stereotyping of the semiotic of the black female both as persona and as body she describes, in Invisibility Blues, the "high visibility" of black women in our culture but, paradoxically, their almost "total lack of voice" ( Burford 1990, 39).

Wallace heard the feminist voices of her mother and other New York-based feminist and artistic associates from her own cosmopolitan, privileged location as "a black American princess in the Harlem of the 50s and 60s" ( Wallace 1996a, 35). This daughter of musician Robert Earl Wallace and "ambitious, fiercely militant" feminist activist Faith Ringgold describes herself as "an inveterate mama's girl right through my early twenties" ( Wallace 1996a, 35). In fact, Wallace still appears at conferences with her mother, as they did at the Feminist Generations Conference at Bowling Green State University early in 1996, but offers, at this point, a far more independent critique of her mother's work.

About her introduction to feminism, Wallace writes: "My family specialized in superwomen of various sorts and women who just couldn't cope on almost any level. . . . From an early age, you were expected to declare which you would be. I always thought that Faith and I came to feminism at the same time, but I now suspect that I was following her lead in the way that a child can without

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Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Bella Abzug (1920-1998) 1
  • Paula Gunn Allen (1939-) 8
  • Gloria AnzaldÚa (1942-) 14
  • Frances Beale (1940-) 22
  • Rita Mae Brown (1944-) 28
  • Charlotte Bunch (1944-) 36
  • Pat Califia (1954-) 44
  • Judy Chicago (1939-) 51
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924-) 55
  • Esther Ngan-Ling Chow (1943-) 60
  • Pearl Cleage (1948-) 66
  • Kate Clinton (1945- ) 73
  • Mary Daly (1928- ) 79
  • Angela Davis (1944-) 86
  • Shulamith Firestone (1945-) 98
  • Jo Freeman (1945-) 104
  • Betty Friedan (1921-) 111
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-) 118
  • Bell Hooks (1952- ) 125
  • Dolores Huerta (1930-) 133
  • June Jordan (1936-) 138
  • Evelyn Fox Keller (1936-) 145
  • Florynce Kennedy (1916-) 150
  • Audre Lorde (1934-1992) 156
  • Catharine Mackinnon (1946-) 163
  • Olga Madar (1915-1996) 174
  • Wilma Mankiller (1945-) 181
  • Del Martin (1921-) 188
  • Kate Millett (1934- ) 194
  • CherrÍe Moraga (1952- ) 201
  • Robin Morgan (1941-) 206
  • Pauli Murray (1910-1985) 213
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1937-) 218
  • Alice Paul (1885-1977) 223
  • Anna Quindlen (1952-) 231
  • Adrienne Rich (1929-) 238
  • Faith Ringgold (1930-) 245
  • Rosemary Ruether (1936-) 251
  • Joanna Russ (1937-) 257
  • Patricia Schroeder (1940-) 264
  • Eleanor Smeal (1939-) 271
  • Barbara Smith (1946-) 279
  • Gloria Steinem (1934-) 283
  • Margo St. James (1937-) 290
  • Alice Walker (1944- ) 297
  • Rebecca Walker (1969-) 305
  • Michele Wallace (1952-) 311
  • Sarah Weddington (1945-) 317
  • Ellen Willis (1941-) 327
  • Selected Bibliography 335
  • Index 341
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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