Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Black Feminist Book Club: When and Where I Enter


Update: I am so excited that so many people plan to read along with me! Several of you have commented or e-mailed that you have ordered the book or put your name on the list at the local library. To allow time for everyone to participate, I'll post my first discussion of the book on Jan. 21.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@whattamisaid) may remember how much I enjoyed watching a conversation between Angela Davis and Toni Morrison on C-Span that centered around Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass - An American Slave Written By Himself. In this environment of proud and willful bigotry, know-nothing talking heads and know-even-less anti-intellectual politicians, it was refreshing to hear these gracious, compassionate, creative and learned thinkers talk. There is hope, people. There is hope. And there was something else, too. They are black women. And black women's voices are rarely heard--even within movements that claim to be about us, like feminism and civil rights. But here these women were, holding the room with their brilliance, talking about everything from literacy to gay marriage to immigration to police brutality. They were/are fierce. And so is Beverly Guy-Sheftall, an icon of the black feminist movement who was recently interviewed at The Root. Hearing from these women feels like being fed. And it occurred to me afterward that I am starving for this. I am woefully ignorant about the work of black feminists and activists like Davis, Morrison and Guy-Sheftall. Embarrassingly, I had not even heard of Guy-Sheftall until the Root interview. I need to change this.

So, I have committed to reading the work of black feminists and womanists in 2011. And I wonder if you might be interested in reading along with me. I'd like to try a sort of virtual Black Feminist Book Club, where we can read and discuss the work of women like Audre Lourde, bell hooks, Angela Davis, etc. I'm not sure how this might work. For now, I will approach it as I have Southern Women, which I just finished reading. I''ll share passages that speak to me, analyze them and hopefully generate conversation among readers. What I really want, though, is for this book club to be dynamic. I'd like to talk to YOU through virtual roundtables, periodic podcasts and guest posts. If you're willing...

Everyone is welcome here. You needn't be black or a woman or label yourself a feminist.

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