Shadowboxing is an explosive analysis of the history and practice of black feminisms. Joy James charts new territory by synthesizing theories of social movements with cultural and identity politics. She brings into the spotlight images of black female agency and intellectualism in radical and anti-radical political contexts, challenging us to rethink our understanding of the changing African presence in American culture. From a comparative look at Ida B. Wells, Ella Baker, Angela Davis, and Assata Shakur to analyses of the black woman in white cinema and the black man in feminist coalitions, she focuses attention on the invisible or the forgotten. James convincingly demonstrates how images of powerful women are either consigned to oblivion or transformed into icons robbed of intellectual power. Shadowboxing honors and analyzes the work of black activists and intellectuals and redefines the sharp divide between intellectual work and political movements.