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In Black Disability Politics Sami Schalk explores how issues of disability have been and continue to be central to Black activism from the 1970s to the present. Schalk shows how Black people have long engaged with disability as a political issue deeply tied to race and racism. She points out that this work has not been recognized as part of the legacy of disability justice and liberation because Black disability politics differ in language and approach from the mainstream white-dominant disability rights movement. Drawing on the archives of the Black Panther Party and the National Black Women's Health Project alongside interviews with contemporary Black disabled cultural workers, Schalk identifies common qualities of Black disability politics, including the need to ground public health initiatives in the experience and expertise of marginalized disabled people so that they can work in antiracist, feminist, and anti-ableist ways. Prioritizing an understanding of disability within the context of white supremacy, Schalk demonstrates that the work of Black disability politics not only exists but is essential to the future of Black liberation movements.
About the Author
Sami Schalk is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women's Speculative Fiction, also published by Duke University Press.