Chapter Fourteen – Example Final Exams

Final Exam: Black Feminisms, Reproductive Rights and the Women’s Movement


In class, we read Olympe De Gouges’ Manifesto, where she calls out White European men, such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, for writing a Declaration of the Rights of Man that did not take into account the rights of woman. We also read a text by Angela Davis on the forced sterilization of Black women. Davis brings up this issue in connection with Second Wave Feminism, wondering if the young feminists of the seventies were aware of the blatant racism of their feminist predecessors. While First Wave White feminists had been complicit in the forced sterilization of Black women, Second Wave White Feminists refused to acknowledge the rights of Black women to reproduce themselves, emphasizing only the fight for abortion. Marx, Che Guevara, the Black Panthers understand the role of the state as protecting private property (means of production) rather than human life. This is different from the Social Contract theory that we all agreed to be part of the state. Marxists think workers in general, and Black workers in particular, were forced to be part of the state, that does not represent or protect them. The Combahee River Collective explained that Marxists were right in their critique of capitalism, but Black Lesbians have to build on his knowledge to account for their own experiences under capitalism. Write a 4,000-word essay explaining the connection between slavery, private property, the state as the protector of private property rather than human lives, and the forced sterilization of Black women, as unwanted bodies of color, in contemporary, post-slavery times in the US.

The following prompts and questions should be used as steps to help you write a 4,000- word essay. Please make sure you address all of them.

  • Summarize the main points that Olympe de Gouges makes against the Social Contract.
  • Read this online resource
  • Based on your reading of the above, explain the achievements of Second Wave feminism in the United States.
  • Read “The Combahee River Collective Statement.”
  • This Boston based Black Lesbian organization has a critique of the feminist movement. Summarize that critique.
  • Explain how colonization affected and affects Black people in the United States using quoters from Fanon’s Black Skin/White Masks.
  • Read this online resource
  • Explain the conditions of oppression that Black people experienced in the fifties and sixties
  • Compare it to the conditions that Black people experience today, decades later and after the peaceful protests of the Civil Rights movement. Use quotes from Malcolm X and the Black Panthers to explain present conditions. Even though they referred to their situation, the conditions they describe have not significantly changed.
  • Using quotes from Fanon’s, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and Angela Davis make explicit the connection between colonization, slavery, Black women’s bodies, and being a Black woman under capitalism.
  • Provide concrete examples of forced sterilization of women of color in the US from Davis’ text. How are their experiences different from those of white women, according to the text?
  • Summarize all of your findings in your conclusion

Essay Guidelines

Your presentation needs to have an introduction, a body where you draw your argument and present evidence, quotes, and examples, and a conclusion.


Explain the concepts that will help you present your vision and tell us how you are going to prove your points.


Explain your theories and examples clearly. Develop the ideas that you have introduced earlier. Remember to tie your examples with your author’s concepts or ideas and use quotes appropriately. Quotes need to always be explained in your own words.


Bring it all together. Briefly recap concepts and examples or illustrations to explain how all of the above ties in with your life and vision for a better world.

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