'Fredi Says'

Between 1943 and 1948, actress, activist, and journalist Fredi Washington covered entertainment
for the Harlem newspaper The People’s Voice, writing feature columns along with her own
column, ‘Fredi Says.’ Professor Carol Stabile is currently collaborating with Dr. Roopika Risam
to publish Washington’s journalistic writing for the first time in The Fredi Washington Reader.
Historian Laurie Woodard will write the introduction to this open access collection of
Washington’s work.
The Fredi Washington Reader compiles columns illustrating the political nature of Washington’s
criticism. Her column particularly emphasized the use of art as an agent for racial and sexual
equality in the United States, particularly in the era of harsh Jim Crow laws. As such, her column
frequently brought attention to the need for nuanced portrayals of Black life in the United States.
Ultimately, Washington’s use of her voice to agitate for change provides an important historical
context to to contemporary social criticism and anti-racist activism. ‘Fredi Says’ was published
amidst World War II during a time when African Americans fought what the Pittsburgh Courier
described as the Double V Campaign--one front being the war against Nazism and White
supremacy abroad, and a second front against their own country that did not recognize them as
equals. As the Black Lives Matter movement has increasingly shone a light on the persistence of
racial discrimination, so too did ‘Fredi Says’ work to draw attention to the effects of racism on
America.. Washington’s work provides a reminder of the need to be critical agitators for change,
especially given the continued dearth of Black writers, producers, and directors in film and

To access the transcribed articles, visit the Reanimate site.

To read about Professor Stabile’s research, visit her website.