Black Women Taught Us
An Intimate History of Black Feminism
by Jenn M. Jackson
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Pub Date 23 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 23 Apr 2024
Random House Publishing Group - Random House, Random House
“Jenn M. Jackson is a beautiful writer and excellent scholar. In this book, they pay tribute to generations of Black women organizers and set forward a bold and courageous blueprint for our collective liberation.”—Imani Perry, author of South to America
This is my offering. My love letter to them, and to us.
Jenn M. Jackson, PhD, has been known to bring historical acuity to some of the most controversial topics in America today. Now, in their first book, Jackson applies their critical analysis to the questions that have long energized their work: Why has Black women’s freedom fighting been so overlooked throughout history, and what has our society lost because of our refusal to engage with our forestrugglers’ lessons?
A love letter to those who have been minimized and forgotten, this collection repositions Black women’s intellectual and political work at the center of today’s liberation movements.
Across eleven original essays that explore the legacy of Black women writers and leaders—from Harriet Jacobs and Ida B. Wells to the Combahee River Collective and Audre Lorde—Jackson sets the record straight about Black women’s longtime movement organizing, theorizing, and coalition building in the name of racial, gender, and sexual justice in the United States and abroad. These essays show, in both critical and deeply personal terms, how Black women have been at the center of modern liberation movements despite the erasure and misrecognition of their efforts. Jackson illustrates how Black women have frequently done the work of liberation at great risk to their lives and livelihoods.
For a new generation of movement organizers and co-strugglers, Black Women Taught Us serves as a reminder that Black women were the first ones to teach us how to fight racism, how to name that fight, and how to imagine a more just world for everyone.
“In their enlightening new book, Black Women Taught Us, Jenn M. Jackson celebrates the iconic Black feminists who built a movement, and also shares their own personal story of growing and learning with these brilliant canonical thinkers. It is intimate and essential reading, a beautiful bridge connecting ancestral and contemporary Black women activists.”
—Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
“Jenn M. Jackson is a beautiful writer and excellent scholar. In this book, they pay tribute to generations of Black women organizers and set forward a bold and courageous blueprint for our collective liberation.”
—Imani Perry, author of South to America
“Jackson’s love letter to Black women and girls, past, present, and future, is a balm for weary souls, a reclamation, a psalm, a grounding, centering, deeply erudite book that uses the intellectual legacy of Black feminists to remind us of the stuff we are made of. In a world deeply committed to ignoring, mishearing, and disregarding Black women, to forgetting them, this book will not let us forget. It demands we remember. And it buoys us, reminding us that in our quest for freedom, Black feminists have always known the way, or made one.”
—Brittney Cooper, author of Eloquent Rage
“With their clear, deliberate prose, Jackson takes everything that makes their Teen Vogue column and academic writing special and elevates it to new heights. Each chapter is a coming-of-age vignette that offers a vital lesson in Black feminist theory.”
—Evette Dionne, author of Lifting as We Climb
“Black Women Taught Us is a powerful and hopeful love letter to the Black feminist thinkers, writers, activists, and organizers who have fought for our liberation. It is an essential, life affirming text.”
—George M. Johnson, author of All Boys Aren’t Blue