The Third World Women's Alliance (TWWA) operated from 1968-1980. It originated in New York as the Black Women's Liberation Committee (BWLC), which was a caucus of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and was created to address the issue of male chauvinism within the movement against racism. From there the BWLC evolved into the Black Woman's Alliance (BWA), independent from SNCC but maintaining close political ties with it. In 1970 the group's common work and dialogue with Puerto Rican women transformed the BWA into the TWWA. Frances M. Beal was a founding member of the BWLC, and stayed with the organization through its various incarnations until 1978. TWWA became bi-coastal in 1971 with the formation of TWAA-Bay Area.
The TWWA was one of several organizations formed by women of color in the late 1960s and early 1970s as responses to the essentialist theories of the early feminist movement. These organizations paved the way for Chicana feminism, Womanism, and Black feminism, among other theoretical approaches to feminism. TWWA broadened the scope of women's activism to address issues such as sterilization abuse, infant mortality, welfare rights, and low-wage work. Through its political activities, TWWA helped to create spaces in racial justice organizations for women's voices, issues and leadership. Although primarily an activist organization, concepts developed by TWWA's members in the course of political organization contributed much to feminist theory. TWWA's ideas of "double jeopardy" and "triple jeopardy" which were elaborated on by scholars as "simultaneity of oppression" and "both/and," advanced the understanding of the intersectionality of race, class, and gender in the women's movement. It also contributed to the experience of building "third world" and "black/brown" unity in opposing racism and sexism. The orientation of TWWA towards the "third world" brought the struggles, condition, and status of women in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to the forefront. TWWA built relations with women's organizations in other countries, pioneering a form of feminism that focuses on the affect of U.S. foreign and military policy on women's lives worldwide, promoting the idea that U.S. women of color had a role to play in the "global sisterhood."
The TWWA-New York folded in 1977. In the same year the TWWA-Bay Area transformed itself into a mass activist organization, and began forming committees for external work. Committees formed during that period include the National Committee to Overturn the Bakke Decision, the Southern Africa Organizing Committee, the Josina Machel Committee and the Coalition to Fight Infant Mortality. By 1979 the TWWA re-organized to become the Alliance Against Women's Oppression (AAWO). The AAWO existed from 1980 -1989, and then took new form again as the Women of Color Resource Center.
From the guide to the Third World Women's Alliance Records MS 697., 1971-1980, 1971-1977, (Sophia Smith Collection)