Throughout February this year, we chose one book per week by Black thinkers that have shaped our understandings of gender justice in important ways. These four books are making Black history and forging Black futures by pushing conversations around feminism and gender-based violence forward, informing our understanding of relevant intersections in ways we may not have thought about before. We’ve put these together as a short annotated book list, complete with some of our favourite passages from these brilliant writers – including one for our Francophone readers! The Possibility Seeds team has also collaboratively built a list of 25 more great reads at the bottom, to keep you going far beyond February.
All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
We want to start by honouring bell hooks, who we lost this past year and whose impact on Black feminist theory and history was so profound. hooks’ works are so prolific, but we love All About Love for its centering of relationship and community. It’s a beautiful and tender read that puts love at the centre of our movements.
They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up by Eternity Martis
Eternity Martis’ memoir, They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up, is a must-read for anyone in higher education and a powerful piece of Black feminist literature in Canada. In a beautiful coming-of-age read, Martis recounts her experiences of misogynoir and gender-based violence on a predominantly white campus; and how she found power in connection with other women of colour, and in the act of telling her story. This book is a rallying cry for survivors and all marginalized voices to resist being silenced.
You can watch Eternity’s National Skillshare event with Courage to Act here!
Empreintes de résistance: Filiations et récits de femmes autochtones, noires et racisées par Alexandra Pierre
Nous célébrons les récits et les parcours de résistance de 9 femmes qui ont livré des témoignages rassemblés sous la plume d’Alexandra Pierre dans « Empreintes de résistance : Filiations et récits de femmes autochtones, noires et racisées ». Ancrés dans l’histoire et le vécu respectif de chacune de ces femmes, les récits qui composent l’ouvrage ont néanmoins une valeur universelle, puisqu’ils permettent de nous élever et démontrent toute l’importance de centrer les questions raciales et coloniales dans les luttes féministes, et, tout particulièrement en ce qui nous concerne, dans la lutte contre la violence genrée.
Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness by Da’Shaun Harrison
Our last feature this month was Da’Shaun Harrison’s Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness. Harrison connects their lived experience in a fat, Black, disabled, and nonbinary trans body to a structural analysis of desirability politics and “health,” and how these interact with sexual and state violence. In a groundbreaking theoretical intervention, they urge us beyond an individualistic framework and make an abolitionist call to uproot the systems that perpetuate injustice through the body.
Other Books We Love
To keep you going all year round, here are 25 more reads, both classic and new, by Black authors to inform your gender justice work:
Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement by Tarana Burke
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
Hunger: a Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard
Volcaniques : Une anthologie du plaisir sous la direction de Léonora Miano
Black Looks: Race and Representation by bell hooks
Women, Race & Class by Angela Y. Davis
Freedom Is A Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings
Inventory: Poems by Dionne Brand
We Will Not Cancel Us: and Other Forms of Transformative Justice by Adrienne Maree Brown
Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by Adrienne Maree Brown
Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
Assata: an Autobiography by Assata Shakur
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction by Sami Schalk
How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
You Can’t Touch My Hair: and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses by Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyěwùmí
On Intersectionality: Essential Writings by Kimberlé Crenshaw
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Suggested Reference : Courage to Act. (2022, February). Black History Month Booklist. Courage to Act. www.couragetoact.ca/blog/bhm-booklist.