Becoming: A Journey with Black Feminist Writers

Self-reflection is a daily hobby, habit and Haddi would probably say, obsession for me.  If I take the time to tie that process to my reading, I would say the most profound literary influence upon my life, self and behavior would be the introduction to and continued draw towards Black Feminist Theory and the scores of books, fiction and non-fiction that underscore this transformative way of thinking, understanding and being in the world.

My first encounter, in a meaningful and definitive way with Black Feminist thinkers, would have been through the womanist theologians I was introduced to during seminary.  In these theological writings, critique, deconstruction and reconstruction of Christianity and Christ himself, I found language for a knowing that went beyond academia and landed firmly in the body.  Experience was a valid and valued form of knowing and connecting to this truth sparked a journey that will last my lifetime. 

I continue to be drawn to Black Feminist authors and writings because they offer a reordering of our social, political, religious and economic norms, articulating a framework to visualize a new world, in the here and now, one not built upon the foundations of whiteness, patriarchy, supremacy, colonization, enlightenment and the values inherit to such systems.  

I cannot imagine I am the only reader longing for a new world order, a more just society, with more fully realized individuals who believe in each other and the power of humanity to live differently. If that sounds like something you would like to explore then perhaps you too might find some solace, wisdom and spiritual connection in Black Feminist writings and the incredible authors, voices and artists through time who add their voice to this symphony. 

The following lists are a start.  They are not comprehensive and please understand I am a novice, offering some places to begin, but am no expert.  I am a white woman, writing to a white audience and I am simply sharing what has resonated with me on a visceral level and which I pray has shaped me into a better human for myself, my children and my communities.  In reading these works, you will better understand the human pain and suffering throughout history and behind modern movements such as #metoo, Black Lives Matter, Abolish the Police, #sayhername, #blackgirlmagic and more.  Black Feminists are at the forefront of these movements and it is time we all paused and listened more closely.

Take these lists for what they are…a start and do your own research, find your own resonance, but this I will say: how we have chosen to organize and structure our world is not inevitable, it is a choice and one we do not have to keep choosing.  There are other ways to be in the world, in relationship, one to the other. These woman are already making such a change. May we all hear them and be transformed by them sooner rather than later. 

Black Feminist Book Lists

Happy Reading!
Hannah