When I was a kid in school, I thought Black History Month was the only heritage month in existence. It’s been great to see that others exist in the years since and to take the time to get a better look at the women involved. There are some women we hear about in school but even they mostly seem like passengers on the ride to freedom, only having incidental impact. In reality, they have been integral members of movements for black people, women, and the LGBT community, no matter how some may want to ignore them, and continue be integral in efforts to tear down barriers for everyone.
Of my reading, these are the non-fiction books that I’ve read that focus on women and Black History in the US specifically.
- At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance–A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power – Danielle L. McGuire
- The Narrative of Sojouner Truth – Sojouner Truth
- You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain – Phoebe Robinson,Jessica Williams
- Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – Audre Lorde
- Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson
- Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home – Anita Hill
- Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay
I know, given the breadth of my reading in total, it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s not the worst proportion of my non-fiction and herstory. Not the best, either. I admit that I could do better, which I’ve been trying to do for memoir and herstory in general. Also, I didn’t include the anthologies of women’s achievements, most (or all) of which included black women, nor did I include books about Africa and African women.
In these books (and The Girls Revolt which is about a group of white women who’s lawyer was a black woman in 1969) I learned for the first time that Rosa Parks wasn’t just tired that fateful day, I realized that the first big suit to bring “sexual harassment” to our lexicon was filed by black woman, and so much more. These books have been amazing and I’d love to see some added to American History classes because black women are a part of all our history and deserve more than a half mention during one month of the year.
Some books still on my TBR that cover the impact or stories of black women making herstory:
- Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
- Harriet Tubman: The Moses of Her People by Sarah Hopkins Bradford, Oliver Johnson
- We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans, from World War II to the War in Iraq by Yvonne Latty, Ron Tarver
- The Grace of Silence: A Memoir by Michele Norris