With February being Black History Month, I want to celebrate some of the Black female voices in American literature. Many of these authors I discovered in graduate school where I studied Black Feminist theory. The majority of what I read was non-fiction, but after graduating I began searching for works in fiction and came across many through friends and social media.
The “what, when and why” of Black Feminism
Black feminism started around the 1960’s as a response to the exclusion Black women faced in both the white feminist movement, because of their race, and the black liberation movement, because of their gender. This movement looked at the ways in which racism, sexism and other social and political identities affected the lives of Black women. It addresses issues such as Black women’s access to health care and education and draws attention to the high amount of violence to which Black women are victims, issues that are oftentimes ignored by the media.
The books below are authored by women whose writing is unapologetically Black and feminist. Both the novels and the non-fiction texts explore the very same issues the Black Feminist movement sought to address. While the movement gained traction in the 1960’s it continues to this day, as can be seen in the more recent books from this list.
Black Girls Must Die Exhausted
The Selected Works of Audre Lorde