1st Edition

Caffie Greene and Black Women Activists Unsung Women of the Black Liberation Movement

By Kofi-Charu Nat Turner Copyright 2022
    260 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book uses the life and work of Caffie Greene, one of the most influential grassroots community activists and public health educators in twentieth-century Los Angeles as a platform to examine the wider story of Black women activists in recent United States history.

    Caffie Greene worked to foster the development of unions, Black elected officials, and Black youth leaders within the Black Panthers and worked with a legion of women leaders to further progress in the fields of health care, education, youth employment, welfare rights, public transportation, police reform, and electoral politics. The book traces Greene’s journey from her childhood plantation life in Arkansas to her emergence as one of the most distinguished civil rights activists in Los Angeles' history. It provides in-depth, meticulously researched archival material to amplify the voice of a pivotal woman and analyzes how her contributions impacted the movements of the postwar era. Examining the pedagogical aspects of social protest as the main resource for consciousness raising among historically marginalized youth and adults, Caffie Greene and Black Women Activists asks the essential question: What can we learn about grassroots community organizing that we do not yet know by centering a Black woman like Caffie Greene’s life? What are the continuities in Greene’s political work between Cold War radicalism, Black Power, and Black feminism and that strict binaries like integrationist and Black separatist, nationalism and socialism, and feminism and Black Power obscure?

    This book will be of key interest to students and scholars studying Black activist history, Black feminism, and twentieth-century United States history.


    The Life of Caffie Greene: A Chronology


    PART I. ARKANSAS to post-WWII Los Angeles (1919-1959)

    1 Arkansas and pre-WWII Los Angeles (1919-1939);

    2 San Pedro Years (1939-1949);

    3 The Family Years (1949-1959);


    4 Y-Teen, Political Organizing & ANC Mothers (1959-1964);

    5 War on Poverty, Watts Uprising & The Teen Post (1964-1967);


    6 Founding MLK Hospital and Charles R. Drew Medical University (1966-1969)

    7 National Health Organizing, Grassroots Caucus & Youth Health Careers (1970-1974)

    8 Struggle for Community Control of King-Drew (1974-1976)


    9 Year of the Concerned Black Woman, L.A. County Commissioner & DNC (1975-1980)

    10 No Intention of Resting: Biological and Educational Warfare (1980-1989)

    PART V. LEGACY, BLACK YOUTH & #BLM (1990’s-Beyond)

    11 Chemical and Economic Warfare, South African Apartheid (Late 1980’s-1991);

    12 I Won’t Complain: Arrest, Alzheimer’s, 90th Birthday, Funeral and Legacy (1991 and Beyond);

    Caffie Greene’s Organizational Affiliations, 1940-2010;

    Awards Granted to Caffie Greene;





    Kofi-Charu Nat Turner, grandson of Caffie Greene, is an associate professor of Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. Brought up by activist parents in the San Francisco Bay Area and then by his grandma in South Central L.A., Dr. Turner first found a spiritual foundation to his activism as a student of Africana Studies studying abroad in Ghana. Today, all his work seeks to engage and support historically underserved youth, K-12 teachers, and administrators utilizing mindfulness and other embodied practices to heal the intergenerational trauma associated with white body supremacy. A community-engaged scholar and ceaseless seeker of knowledge, Dr. Turner’s research and courses span the areas of language and literacy practices of culturally and linguistically diverse urban adolescents (particularly African Americans) in school and nonschool settings, racial justice/reparations in education, hip-hop culture, and emergent technologies. He received degrees from Harvard and Brown Universities and was trained in dynamic mindfulness (DMind) at the Niroga Institute (Oakland, CA), an organization he continues to collaborate with, facilitating DMind with youth in Jersey City public schools.