Books about Black Women to Add to Your Black History Reading List

Let our society tell it, Black women have never had an impact on history.  Black women have no stories to tell.  Black women’s roles are to support – but never overshadow –  their husbands, sons, brothers and white counterparts.  History tends to leave Black women’s stories untold or flatten their stories into a bite-sized, one-dimensional tales of piety, sacrifice, or perfection.

The truth is that Black women have always been innovators, strategist, radical thinkers, and pillars of every community. Yet, somehow, so many amazing stories of Black women have been lost to time.

Here’s a short list of compelling books about Black women for your Black History Month reading list that aren’t Michelle Obama’s Becoming (which I assume is on all our “to read” or “read” lists).

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, and Minyon Moore with Veronica Chambers

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Photo credit: Macmillian Publishers

This book tells the stories of four women who have been major players in American political systems.  These women met early in their careers and have helped each other navigate work dynamics, personal tragedies, career mistakes and more by creating a support system for themselves and the other black women around them. They, individually and collectively, have been driving forces in some of the major Democratic campaigns and political moments, including both Jesse Jackson’s and Hilary Clinton’s historic presidential campaigns and the Clinton Administration. In addition to recapping their biographies and careers, the women provide thoughts on the importance of building and nurturing your networks and finding mentors and allies who can push you forward and keep you sane.

Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry

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Photo credit: Beacon Press

Most are familiar with Lorraine Hansberry’s play “A Raisin in the Sun”, the first Broadway play written and produced by a Black woman.  This book chronicles Hansberry’s short life before she died from cancer when she was 34 years old and proves that her famous play is just the tip of the iceberg.  Hansberry was dedicated to living a life true to her ideals.  Hansberry grew up the daughter of a prominent Black businessman in a middle-class Black family in Chicago.  She was an outspoken lesbian, feminist and Black rights activist who never shied from expressing her thoughts. Her crew included the who’s who of the day, including James Baldwin, Nina Simone, and Paul Robeson.   Hansberry was revolutionary.

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

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Photo Credit: Macmillian Publishing

In the relatively few years since the Black Lives Matter movement started, it has forever changed our language around the systemic abuse and deaths of black people by police officers. The casual BLM fan may not realize that that the organization was started by women who wanted to make a change in their communities.  This book serves as the author’s biography and to the events that lead to the start of the BLM and how the movement changed the lives the author and her family.

The World According to Fannie Davis by Bridgett M. Davis

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Photo credit: Little, Brown and Company

This book is at the top of my personal list, so – full disclosure- I haven’t read it but am extremely excited for my copy to reach my doorstep.  The author tells the story of how her mother made ends meet, bought a house and paid for her college education by running the Numbers.  The Numbers was something like a lottery system that was prominent in black communities.  Though this is a story of one woman, the greater story displays examples of Black entrepreneurship and black people creating wealth and investing in their communities through underground economies.

This list is just a flake on the tip of the iceberg and there are so many black female experiences not represented in this extremely short list.  What books would you add to the list?

Top 5 Podcasts by Sistas

So, I may be the last person on earth that’s finally gotten into podcasts but I’m so glad I did!  Morning commutes are so much better by starting the day with a hearty chuckle or the feeling like you can do whatever you set your mind to. So, as we find our groove in 2019, I thought it would be fitting to list my Top Five Podcasts by Sistas!

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Jesus & Jollof

This is the newest podcast but it doesn’t hold back when it comes to making their mark.  Luvvie Ajayi and Yvonne Orji are the friends you hangout with at a kickback and laugh all night. These proud Nigerian women give us insight on what life is like growing up for them in America but never losing their roots. The started off their first episode letting us know that they named their Podcast Jesus & Jollof because those are two things they can’t live with out. Topics range from Nigerian love languages, From bottom to breakthrough and more. But don’t let the laughs fool you, they are also dropping knowledge geared towards success in all aspects of your life, with a reminder that Jesus is the foundation of their life.

 

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Hey Aunty!

Self-described as “fireside chats with black women who’ve been there”.  Hey Aunty! is taped in Australia and has a global reach dedicated to honor and love our Blackness. I’ve been listening for the past few months, and I love that black folks share experiences and similarities no matter what part of the world we reside in. Shared experiences, positive and otherwise, like figuring out if you still be code switching or asking why we are like this, will have you nodding your head and waving your hand in agreement, all while getting insight from our sistas from down under.

 

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Side Hustle Pro

I grew up being told that it’s important to have multiple streams of income.  When I got to college, my side hustle was doing hair. So, this podcast was right up my alley.  Known as the “first and only podcast to spotlight bold, black women entrepreneurs who have scaled from side hustle to profitable business”.  Side Hustle Pro has the best to ever do it  share their secrets like how to kick imposter syndrome to the curb or what it’s like to launch a chocolate factory in Harlem.  Do you have a side hustle and you’re looking for motivation on how to have it grow? This podcast is for you and anyone who’s simply looking for motivation.

 

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Small Doses Amanda Seales

According to my best friend, Amanda Seals is my kindred spirit and insisted that I check out her podcast. Known as “your favorite truth teller” Amanda gives insight on how to navigate life with real, raw, and relevant information. From the side effects of not having kids, to toxic masculinity and being outspoken, her episodes are engaging and entertaining.

 

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Rants & Randomness with Luvvie Ajayi

If you’re looking for consistent motivation/gem dropping from people who’ve been there mixed with society and pop culture, this is your podcast.  I tune in to my fellow Chicagoan with my notepad ready to receive all the information her show gives out.  Luvvie discusses trusting your gut, loving radically, and even saving edges! This podcast is where you see just how magical our people truly are.

 

Now I want to hear from you. Have you listened to any of the Podcasts in my top five? If so what are your thoughts?  What Podcasts are you currently listening to?

Share in the comments below and help a Sista grow her Library!

#IllAlwaysLoveMyMama #ShesMyFavoriteGirl

Mama was the first sista I ever cited and was my introduction to Black womanhood and Black Feminism. Long before I took up room in the academy, Mama taught lessons about agency, an ethic of care, resistance, joy, and love. Mama’s words and experiences were legitimate sources of knowledge and her ideas were my tools for analysis. As I’ve grown into my own person, our ideologies have diverged at many points and the way we do our work looks different, but there is most often a profound respect for each other as mother and daughter and as grown, independent people. IMG_3236
Mama did a perfectly imperfect job of teaching my sibling and I the balance of independent decision-making and community interdependency. She was intentional with us, and regardless of how lessons or manifestations of those lessons showed up, she (for the most part) would talk us through them.  Because of her commitment to us being our own, but connected person, my sibling and I live across the country from her while still being purposeful in our connections and in our grounding.  She’s proud of us, thankful that her investments paid off “in adult children who can make decisions on their own, who know who they are, who advocate for themselves, and who will be alright when I leave this place.” We’re proud of her too. She’s such a cool kid. B9F85A77-9689-4F39-A445-7C7C1614FC78

Mama played short and long ball with advocacy, agency, and resistance. My sibling and I are her long ball, but getting us to adulthood was short ball. Her advocacy showed up in the small moments, like her advocating for therapy as a general practice as I entered adulthood because, as she put it, no parent, regardless of intention, was perfect, and that this world didn’t care about Black girls’ and women’s trauma or parent issues. Mama had strict parenting practices. That’s what parents who love you do when they don’t have the economic or other capital to leverage/negotiate on your behalf if/when things go left. She was honest in that she told us that she didn’t have the luxury to raise children who couldn’t advocate for themselves and who couldn’t be resilient. Again, this world wasn’t created for Black girls and women. I appreciate that she told us that the world wasn’t fair, but would raise hell when folks acted unfairly or unjustly toward us. That’s how she rolls. #IGetItFromMyMama

IMG_1053As an adult child and someone who still considers and desires parenthood for myself, one of the realest things Mama taught me was through her commitment to herself as a person. In a society that requires and idolizes sacrifices by mothers’ (and other caretakers), she resisted the narrative as much as possible. She made time for herself in the midst of raising two kids and keeping all the parts to life moving (as smoothly as possible, when possible). She did small things (that I hated when I was little lol) like telling us to not come to her bedroom door before 8 AM on weekends and telling us “no” she was tired and needed to rest, as well as committing to her daily power walks and sending us outside to play so that she could read in quiet. These things were subtle, explicit, and efficient ways for her to prioritize herself, a practice that I value dearly as an adult. She often reminds us that she chose to make personal sacrifices for her children, and while I hear her agency in that, I think of all the things she chose/”chose”/had to release (in the immediacy and in the long term) in the name of motherhood. As a society, we’ve got to do better by mothers, parents, and caretakers.

1956922_10101440386061807_7369559418859423826_o I use the captions #IllAlwaysLoveMyMama #ShesMyFavoriteGirl for our pictures/selfies. She really is my all-around favorite. She’s this extrovert’s favorite social introvert (that’s code for she’s friendly but she don’t fool with a bunch of people lol). She’s this pay-full-price-for-convenience shopper’s favorite  thrifter because she always finds the best deals at estate sales. When we get on each others’ nerves, because that’s what happens with two grown, independently thinking people, I still wouldn’t trade her for anything. We don’t look much alike, but if my soul had a face, it’d have her nose, eyes, and lips. I am who I am because of her love, her commitment to me being my own person, and her fierce advocacy from Day 1. I don’t like to imagine life without her, but I know that it is eventual. So, I give her her flowers while she yet lives. She’s my boo. I love me some her. I’ll always love my mama. She’s my favorite girl.

Interracial Dating whilst Black Woman x Natasha Lee

A few weeks ago, a friend of #CiteASista wrote a detailed post about her experiences with interracial dating. In true call it like it is form, Natasha reminded Black women why we should stop selecting ourselves out of the wider dating pool out of loyalty to Black men.

We especially loved the facts laced within the piece–

the dating pool becomes real limited considering the number of Black men who are imprisoned, hoteppy, or would rather wife Becky with the good hair. Consistent with anecdotal evidence, research shows that Black men are nearly twice as likely to interracial date and to marry a non-Black woman (Pew Research Center, 2017).

Ouch.

She continues with:

Black women have been taught to “hold down” and desire Black men through urban myths and stereotypes (e.g. the ride or die chick, white men can’t fight/protect us, and of course the Black male’s penis size).  We are even socialized in our childhood to desire Black boys. Consider the nursery rhyme that I and thousands of Black girls chanted as we were coming of age:

“I like coffee,
I like tea,
I like the colored boy and he likes me,
So step back white boy, you don’t shine,
Cause I’ll get the colored boy to beat yo behind…”

Now, name ONE nursery rhyme that Black boys are taught to celebrate and desire Black girls? Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

Three claps for the reality check. Read the entire post on Natasha’s blog*Here* and let us know what you think!

Check out Dr. Marvette Lacy on Finding A Dissertation Topic

February 8, 2016, I went to my counseling appointment with a nice, white lady.

Nice, white lady: How was your weekend?

Marvette: It was okay. Didn’t do too much. Enjoyed some much needed alone time.

Nice, white lady: Oh, I thought you would’ve mentioned Beyonce’ at the Superbowl.

Marvette: Oh yeah, that was a cool surprise.

Nice, white lady: Why would she do that?

Marvette: *confused look*

Nice, white lady: Why would she support that terrorist organization? The Black Panthers! I was just meeting with a client whose father (that was a cop) was killed by the Black Panthers.

Collective sigh.

 

Read more: http://www.marvettelacy.com/finding-a-dissertation-topic/