Chapter 1 Lessons from the Black Women's Movement in Britain
1 The author is very grateful to members of Southall Black Sisters who generously gave their
time to be interviewed and provided materials. This article would not have been possible
without the important work that SBS women have carried out as trailblazers within the
Black women's movement in Britain.
In Britain, the term "Black was adopted by the antiracist movement in the 1960s as a politi-
cal designation for people of African, Asian, and Caribbean descent. The term pointed to
shared experiences of racism and common histories of anticolonial struggle. In this paper, I
follow the British usage of "Black" when referring to the British situation, that is, the Black
Women's Movement.
Susan Edwards, "Beyond Belief-the Case of Zoora Shah," New
Law Journal
(1999): 667.
4 Southall Black Sisters,
Free Zoora Shah!
(London: Southall Black Sisters, 1998), leaflet.
5 Interview with Hannana Saddiqui, Southall Black Sisters, June1999.
6 Southall Black Sisters, "Campaigns: Zoora Shah," Web site article, 2006, http://www.south-
(accessed March 7, 2006).
7 Justice for Women, "Current Campaigns: Zoora Shah,"
(accessed March 7,2006).
Kiranjit Ahluwalia and Rahila Gupta, A
Circle of Light: Zhe AutobiograpLy of Kiranjit
(London: Harper Collins, 1997).
Interview with Hannana Saddiqui, Southall Black Sisters, June1999.
Uma Narayan,
Dis/locating Cultures: Identities, Tradition and Bird World Feminism
York: Routledge, 1997).
11 British Home Office,
Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System-2004
Home Office, 2004).
12 Ahluwalia and Gupta, A
Circle of Light,
361. A commentator in
7he Times
of London ar-
gued: "To permit women to claim that they were provoked into killing their husbands even
though the act was committed with forethought would be to permit premeditated murder.
It is no good saying: 'But she couldn't have done it any other way.' The object is not to give
everyone an equal crack at murder to level the playing field."
(7he Times,
"When Marriage
Turns Bloody," September 29, 1992).
Pat Carlen,
Skdgehammer: Women? Imprisonment at the Millennium
(Basingstoke, UK:
Macmillan, 1998), 51.
Zhe Sunday Times,
"All for Love? Violence by Women," July 7, 1992.
Zhe Times,
"Girls Gunning for Revenge," July 9, 1993.
16 See Ann Jones,
Women Who Kill
(Boston: Beacon Press, 1996); Coramae Richey Mann,
When Women Kill
(Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1996); Patricia Pearson,
When She Was Bad: VioLnt Women and the Myth of Innocence
(New York: Viking, 1997);
Alice Myers and Sarah Wight,
No Angels: Women Who Commit Kolence
(London: Harper
Collins, 1996).
17 Stuart Hall et al.,
Policing the Crisis: Mugging, 7he State and Law and Order
Macmillan, 1978).
Readers familiar with Freda Adler's controversial book
Sisters in Crime
may have a sense
of dkjH vu. Adler's claim that women's crime was the "darker side" of the women's libera-
tion movement spurred a similar panic in the United States and Britain in the 1970s (New
York: McGraw Hill, 1975), 13. Her hypothesis was later discredited at a scholarly level, but
not erased from common-sense explanations of crime. See Meda Chesney-Lind,
Zhe Female
Offender: Girls, Women and Crime
(Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1997), 37.
19 Anne Worrall,
Offending Women: Female Lawbreakers and the Criminal Justice System
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