We here at The Visibility Project like our books. We like our essays and we love our Black Feminists and other Revolutionaries operating on the behest of those in marginalized groups.
Whether it’s B. Alexandra sharing her book list from an AfroFuturism-centered course in her PhD program, or the rest of us using the U.S. Postal service as a vehicle for our unplanned Sisterhood of the Traveling Books club, you can bet at any given time, one or more of us Blerds are reading and or exchanging thoughts, queries, and theories about subjects surrounding our latest read or just plain fangirling over our favs.
Below we’re each sharing an item on our must read list. We’ll try to put one of these together for you every month.
B. Alexandra: Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
Dr. Patricia Hill Collins’ most famous work was written over twenty years ago but its content and its message are still relevant. Whether you’re a seasoned black feminist or just starting on your journey to black feminist paradise this book was written just for you.
Before reading this book, I didn’t know it was possible to fight sexism, homophobia, racism, classism or any other -ism you could think of all at the same damn time!
Black Feminist Thought is an instruction manual on how to dismantle the patriarchy without losing yourself in the struggle, and if that doesn’t describe what we cape for over here at The ViP, I don’t know what does.
BassMonsterTiff: Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
Assata Shakur’s story provides so many thought-provoking truths that are often overlooked by mainstream culture and education. By sharing personal accounts from her life, she gives insight into topics like civil rights, the Black Panther movement, the political justice system, and the treatment of marginalized people in this country.
Reading Shakur’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions added humanity to the legendary, revolutionary status I always held her to, and made it more possible for me to see myself in a revolutionary light.
Assata: An Autobiography is a must-read because it is an eye-opening piece of history from a Black woman’s point of view.
Carlyn: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Zora Neale Hurston was a woman ahead of her time. She audaciously centered a Black female character in this story, a woman named Janie Crawford who explored her world while claiming autonomy and freedom from societal norms in 1930s Southern Florida.
Her story is about introspection, independence and identity written in prose that made me feel like I was listening to history through my elders’ voices.
When finished with the book I recommend watching the film – while there are subtle differences, it captures the time, joy and spirit of Janie.
KAMMs.: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Me: I wish to require [that] all my friends read Sister Outsider. Obviously I can’t. But if I could I would.
Carlyn: I completely support this idea.
Me: This jawn is Oh-mazing.
Me: Just when I think Audre can’t wow me anymore.
Carlyn: She will always wow you.
Me: Just when I think I’ve reached another level of wokeness. I’m like oh. So much more. “Ahead of her time” is SUCH an understatement.
This is an actual conversation I had when I was about 3/4 through this book.
One of the essays in this collection, Lorde’s “Learning from the 60s,” is reason enough for me to put this book atop my required reading list. It’s especially important in today’s political climate given the budding Millennial Revolution and whatnot.
This collection of essays and speeches by Audre Lorde is crucial. It’s well-written, exacting, and honest. It’s angry, it’s hopeful, it’s open. This collection is a relevant message and six-week seminar in Lorde’s own words on Black feminism and several intersections, learning from our past, and how to struggle for the future. It’s written at that soft spot between academic and laymen’s terms. It really should be on every feminists bookshelf. And I do think everyone should be a feminist. So theoretically I feel like this book should be in every home.
If you have any book suggestions or thoughts on the current list, let us know!