"Fifty years ago, the Third World Women’s Alliance passionately insisted on interconnections among racism, sexism, and capitalism, inspiring radical analytical frameworks and organizing strategies associated with contemporary conceptions of feminism. We are deeply indebted to Patricia Romney for helping to generate a record of the Alliance’s pioneering contributions and thus for ensuring that their revolutionary legacies live on." —Angela Y. Davis, author of Freedom Is a Constant Struggle
From 1970 to 1980, the Third World Women’s Alliance lived the dream of third world feminism. The small bicoastal organization was one of the earliest groups advocating for what came to be known as intersectional activism, arguing that women of color faced a “triple jeopardy” of race, gender, and class oppression. Rooted in the Black civil rights movement, the TWWA pushed the women’s movement to address issues such as sterilization abuse, infant mortality, welfare, and wage exploitation, and challenged third world activist organizations to address sexism in their ranks. Widely recognized as the era’s primary voice for women of color, this alliance across ethnic and racial identities was unique then and now.
Interweaving oral history, scholarly and archival research, and first-person memoir, We Were There documents how the TWWA shaped and defined second wave feminism. Highlighting the essential contributions of women of color to the justice movements of the 1970s, this historical resource will inspire activists today and tomorrow, reminding a new generation that solidarity is the only way forward.
“Fifty years ago, the Third World Women’s Alliance passionately insisted on interconnections among racism, sexism, and capitalism, inspiring radical analytical frameworks and organizing strategies associated with contemporary conceptions of feminism. We are deeply indebted to Patricia Romney for helping to generate a record of the Alliance’s pioneering contributions and thus for ensuring that their revolutionary legacies live on.” —Angela Y. Davis, author of Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement
“In the 1970s, with the mimeograph as weapon, and in solidarity with international liberation struggles, US women of color turned to one another, across ethnic and racial divides, to recognize their common cause. We Were There is the ‘origin story’ we’ve been waiting for. Those radical sister foremothers shaped for themselves an utterly prescient (if not always perfect) politic—one to which the tenets of This Bridge Called My Back, ‘Intersectionality,’ and Transnational Feminism remain beholden. Yes, they were there, as Patricia Romney, living witness and researcher, fervently attests. And we are so grateful that they were.” —Cherríe Moraga, co-editor of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
“In We Were There, Sistah Pat has created a riveting collective memory and critique of the TWWA's radical contributions to our enduring movement for justice and liberation.” —Melanie Tervalon, physician, educator, and activist
“With a narrative that is both engaging and inspiring, Patricia Romney's We Were There gives us an important insider’s view of the Third World Women’s Alliance and the powerful sisterhood that transformed the lives of so many women. Now more than ever, we need the voices of women of color activists who were fighting against racism, sexism, and classism in the 1970s to speak across generations and share their lessons learned. The struggle continues!” —Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race
"We Were There brilliantly makes visible and salient the complex and intersectional stories of the 1970s women's movement that have so often been whitewashed and omitted in many educational contexts. This book is a heartfelt and compassionate scholarly exploration of coalition building, education and activism, centering the work and stories of women of color. Dr. Romney is a gifted storyteller and talented scholar who offers us, as readers, insight and wisdom that helps to better understand contemporary social justice work.” —Marcella Runell Hall, co-editor of UnCommon Bonds: Women Reflect on Race and Friendship
“For those who ‘were there,’ Pat Romney’s book rings true with passion, remembrance, and wisdom. For those who were not there, it is a history lesson rooted in honesty, commitment, and a vision of a more just future. From historical artifacts to interviews and portraits of former members, this book includes broad-based examples of solidarity and inspiring personal and collective stories. We Were There is a call to action about frequently hidden or denied lessons of the past that we would do well to remember today.” —Sonia Nieto, professor emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst