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Is Womanist to Feminist as Purple Is to Lavender?

Literature

In her 1983 essay collection In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, writer and activist Alice Walker established the term “womanist” as an alternative to “feminist.” Her definition centered the perspectives of women of color, who had been marginalized by the feminist movement. “Womanist is to feminist,” Walker declared, “as purple is to lavender.” In 2019, the National Museum of African American History and Culture hosted a public program, “Is Womanist to Feminist as Purple is to Lavender? African American Women Writers and Scholars Discuss Feminism.” The program featured guest scholars Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Dr. Treva Lindsay and poet/performers Holly Bass and Venus Thrash.