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January 8, 2012

BOOK COMMENTS: African American Women in the 20th Century

I promised Amanda @ opinonsofawolf that I would suggest a couple of good books about African American women in the late 20th century. Here are a couple that I have read recently and highly recommend.

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, by Melissa V. Harris-Perry. Yale University Press (2011), Hardcover, 392 pages.
The one book everyone should read. I will post a review of it in a week or two.

At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance, by Danielle L. McGuire. Knopf (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 352 pages.
The story of black women, and the black community generally, struggling to protect young women from sexual assaults from white men and to hold the men accountable. An untold thread of events leading into the Civil Rights Movement. Excellent scholarship and full of surprises.

Hands on the freedom plow : personal accounts by women in SNCC, by Faith Holsaert, and others. University of Illinois Press, (2010).
Personal accounts by black and white women looking back on what they did and how they felt. Not the most important of the books by and about black women in the civil rights movement, but one I have read recently and found very moving.

Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower, edited by Deborah Gray White. The University of North Carolina Press (2008), Paperback, 304 pages.
Highly educated, highly professional women describing their entry into a traditionally white male bastion. If you think we have moved beyond stereotypes, read this. Contributors are members of the Association of Black Women Historians who complied the reading list correcting depictions in the book and movie Help, the list being read at Real Help.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2012 8:22 pm

    Thanks for this – what a great list! I’d also suggest Assata Shakur’s autobiography, Assata. I read it last year and thought it was excellent. It was published in 1987, but the events covered were a bit before that.

    • January 9, 2012 9:00 am

      Thanks. I haven’t read Assata and I am glad you think it is good. It would be a needed balance to the books I mentioned.

  2. January 10, 2012 2:45 am

    I confess this is an area of reading I know very little about. Thank you for the list of what look like excellent books!

    • January 11, 2012 9:38 am

      Thanks. African American women’s writings and history have been incredibly important to me. They expanded my thinking beyond my “white girl from small town Oklahoma” roots. I am grateful. And fascinated by the complex ways their stories are like and unlike my own. Now that I am blogging, I look forward to reading more women of color globally.

  3. January 11, 2012 10:03 am

    Sister Citizen and Assata are already on my wishlist, but I hadn’t heard of the others. Thanks! I’ll be sure to send the post to Amy as well. (Co-host for The Real Help).

  4. Sally Mcnall permalink
    January 16, 2012 6:31 pm

    I’d add The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson, even though it doesn’t quite live up to all the hype.

  5. January 25, 2012 11:27 am

    Another great list to complement the Real Help list 🙂 Thanks for this!

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