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5 Must-Read Books For The Budding Black Feminist

A perfect beginner's list for the young black feminist just starting their journey.

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"Usually, when people talk about the 'strength' of black women, they ignore the reality that to be strong in the face of oppression is not the same as overcoming oppression. Endurance is not to be confused with transformation..."

- bell hooks, "Ain't I A Woman? Black Women and Feminism"

As a young black millennial trying to figure out how I will make my mark on this world, it probably comes as no surprise that I would be intrigued by a movement whose goal is to advocate for the political, social and economic equality of women.

GIRL POWER, right? Well, not necessarily, as I would come to find out.

Mainstream feminism is based upon sexism and class oppression. And though one cannot deny that these are two very critical areas, Black Feminist Thought argues that racism is also inextricably bound therein.

As I struggle to create a space for myself in modern feminist thought, the following books have been invaluable in helping me to navigate my journey:

1. Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde

Amazon / Via ecx.images-amazon.com

In Lorde's own words, this collection of writings serves as a call to "never close our eyes to the terror, to the chaos which is Black which is creative which is female which is dark which is rejected which is messy which IS....."

2. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, & the Politics of Empowerment, by Patricia Hill Collins

Amazon / Via ecx.images-amazon.com

In this groundbreaking book, Collins provides an interpretive framework for the works of such prominent Black feminist thinkers as Angela Davis, bell hooks, Alice Walker, and Audre Lorde. Drawing from fiction, poetry, music and oral history, the result is a superbly crafted and revolutionary book that provided the first synthetic overview of Black feminist thought and its canon.

3. Ain't I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism, by bell hooks

The Feminist Library / Via thefeministlibrary.com

In this work, hooks analyzes the complex relations between various forms of oppression. She examines the impact of sexism on black women during slavery, the historic devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism within the recent women's movement, and black women's involvement with feminism.

4. Women, Race and Class, by Angela Davis

Amazon / Via ecx.images-amazon.com

In this work, Davis conducts a powerful study of the women's movement in the U.S. from abolitionist days to the present, which demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders.

5. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, by Melissa Harris-Perry

Yale Press / Via yalepress.yale.edu

In this work, Perry--a highly respected thinker on race, gender, and American politics--provides a new perpective of black women and how distorted stereotypes affect their political beliefs.

Artist. Writer and Social Critic at www.cocoamoore.com. Black Woman. Future Mommy to a Young Black King. This will be my greatest assignment yet.

For more of my musings, follow my blog at www.cocoamoore.com.

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