“[F]or the Rights of Dark People in Every Part of the World”: Pearl Sherrod, Black Internationalist Feminism, and Afro-Asian Politics during the 1930s

Keisha N. Blain, University of Iowa


This article explores the political ideas and activism of Pearl Sherrod, an African American woman who became a leader of The Development of Our Own, a Detroit-based antiracist political movement that sought to unite African Americans with people of color in Asia during the Great Depression. This article demonstrates how Sherrod articulated “black internationalist feminism” by maintaining a commitment to building transnational and transracial political alliances while advancing a feminist agenda. By excavating Sherrod’s life, this article highlights the key role a nonstate female actor played in shaping black internationalist movements during a global economic crisis and within a climate of government repression and censorship.