12 Black Feminist Books You Can Add To Your Reading List
Surely, we all know this pandemic that's been going on for a few months now, but do all of us know about the Black Lives Matter movement? Are we all knowledgeable enough to know which places to sign, and which places to donate to? If we aren't, we could easily sign the wrong one and give our money to someplace with the wrong intentions. Here is a list of books where you can read more about the Black Lives Matter movement and get educated on the hardships in the lives and histories of the black community. These books range anywhere from poetry, to memoir, to fiction!
1. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
In Audre Lorde's gripping collection of essays and speeches, she explores her self-described identity as a "black, mother, warrior, poet" in the 20th century. Lorde was known for her radical feminist writing, and its positive impact on women of colour all over the world. Sister Outsider is no different, as it earned quite the praise and is still widely considered as a must-have, even after almost 30 years of Lorde's passing.
2. Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
This Emma Watson "Our Shared Shelf" Selection for November/December 2018 is, as the title reads, an eloquent read, touching on topics such as race and gender roles in society. Brittney Cooper also shares her experience as a black woman and how she found empowerment within herself. Though this book is an autobiography, it relates to many readers and teaches us a thing or two about strength.
3. Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals by Saidiya Hartman
Saidiya Hartman's "beautiful experiment in its own right" (Maggie Nelson) follows vulnerable tales of revolutionary lives that changed history, each in their own way. This biography features the history of none other than Billie Holiday, Mabel Hampton, Ella Perkins, and many more. Hartman's poetic storytelling keeps readers at the edge of their seats without letting them fall forward.
4. Women, Race & Class by Angela Y. Davis
Women, Race & Class is a 1981 study on how the classist and racist leaders we are under influence of affect the feminist movement in the U.S. Angela Y. Davis gives out newfound hope, strength, and wisdom to all her readers.
5. Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
Mikki Kendall's book is an intricate guide on mainstream feminism. Kendall's intelligence shapes the book and draws you in by each sentence. She does not withhold any of her opinions, and becomes an incredible, outspoken radical.
6. Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene A. Carruthers
Charlene A. Carruthers made her works with the goal of creating young leaders to fight for what's right, and succeeded completely Unapologetic. Inspirational and admirable, Unapologetic is one of the author's most impactful writing yet.
7. When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down by Joan Morgan
With When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost comes the rise of irreverent, witty author and award-winning journalist Joan Morgan. Her fun yet unflinching book discusses the issues African-American women face every day in this generation.
8. Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Poetry and prose have never felt so powerful in this "labor of love, and an experimental and poetic work of literary criticism based on the work of Hortense Spillers and the literary archive of freedom-seeking black women" (Wikipedia). Alexis Gumbs writes a heart-wrenching and highly intellectual piece of literature that is sure to add to your knowledge and your heart.
9. Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom
American sociologist, professor, and writer Tressie McMillan Cottom gives the world a new voice in her collection of essays titled Thick. The 2019 National Book Award finalist covers topics Cottom has had personal experience in.
10. Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism by Daisy Hernández (Editor), Bushra Rehman (Editor)
Colonize This! is an anthology with a fresh outlook on modern feminism, from the views of young, clever women of colour. It portrays the American life in such ways that grapples the mind of readers. The book is an important read for all young women of colour, and everyone else looking to gain knowledge.
11. The Yellow House: A Memoir (2019 National Book Award Winner) by Sarah M. Broom
Of course you would be marvelled if somebody told you that The Yellow House is, in fact, Sarah M. Broom's first book and won the 2019 National Book Award. But the book itself is so riveting that your surprise would be gone instantly. Broom's memoir is one of the most emotional and compelling works on this list.
12. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Internationally-acclaimed, yet often deemed as inappropriate, Alice Walker's literary classic is the perfect book to end the list. There are several adaptations, such as the movie and musical, which both received its positive and negative reviews. Parents raising teenagers in some countries complained about the themes of sexual violence and abuse, having the perception that it is too dark of a story to their children, almost always ignoring the moving message. Even until today, the narrative is somewhat controversial that it is banned in many different places, but still it is passionate and overall, beautiful.
Although we are all under quarantine, the recent BLM movement has sparked people's attention towards giving their energy towards a better future for people of colour. Some may already be protesting and spreading valuable information on social media, while others may be educating themselves on the matter in order to feel qualified to speak up about it. Learning is also an important thing during this time, and that is exactly what this article is for. Make sure to read, watch, or listen to anything that teaches you a thing or two about how to be empathetic and understanding.