A Black Women's History of the United States
A revealing history—at once sobering and empowering—showing Black women's expansive contributions since the 1600s.Spanning over 400 years, this book, written by two award-winning Black women historians, prioritizes all voices: from poor and working-class domestics to middle-class reform women to sex workers and female convicts. The book challenges historical stereotypes and myths but also offers a contemporary understanding of Black women in America, highlighting diverse voices and lives—from activists to athletes to rappers. Focusing on the unique and expansive experience of Black women, Berry and Gross reach far beyond a single narrative of Black women in America. The result is a book that centers race, gender and sexuality in the North, as well as the South, and in both rural and urban areas, to show that Black women are—and have always been—instrumental in shaping our history.

A Black Women's History of the United States Details

TitleA Black Women's History of the United States
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Race, Feminism, Cultural, African American, North American Hi..., American History

A Black Women's History of the United States Review

  • Jessica Howard
    January 1, 1970
    I read this whole thing today, and it was fascinating! It's shocking how much of black women's history isn't covered in mainstream history curriculum. Full review coming for Shelf Awareness.
  • Csimplot Simplot
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent book!!!!
  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    what a completely devastating but thoroughly inspiring book! this should be required reading for anyone living in the united states. african-american women have indisputably shaped this country yet their hard work and sacrifices have been grossly underappreciated for the last four hundred years. each chapter of this book opens with a vignette of a bold woman–from isabel de olvera seeking safe passage in the year 1600 to millie and christine mckoy, conjoined twins, who were exploited and what a completely devastating but thoroughly inspiring book! this should be required reading for anyone living in the united states. african-american women have indisputably shaped this country yet their hard work and sacrifices have been grossly underappreciated for the last four hundred years. each chapter of this book opens with a vignette of a bold woman–from isabel de olvera seeking safe passage in the year 1600 to millie and christine mckoy, conjoined twins, who were exploited and mistreated for much of their life to shirley chisolm, the first african-american woman to serve in congress–who chose to risk life and limb and liberty to move their country forward. there were so many women featured in this book that i had never heard of despite their incredible acts of bravery, like the 30-odd teenage girls who were kept in a stockade for SIX WEEKS for protesting segregation in 1963. one of the many great things about this work is that so many voices are part of this history: explorers, enslaved people, mothers, daughters, queer people, nonbinary people, artists, activists, religious people, and so many more. this book has inspired me to continue supporting and being in ally to african-american women because that is the very least i can do to show my gratitude for the incredibly work they have done for centuries now.
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  • Alexis (TheSlothReader)
    January 1, 1970
    A really in depth look at some famous and unheard of black women throughout American history. It covers all kind of black women: trans black women, queer black women, and disabled black women. They authors do a really good job of looking at historical documents and then using those to show the perspectives, realities, and injustices faced by black women throughout Anerican history.
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    An overview of the lives of black women in the US that is both easy to read (i.e. not in academic language) and disturbing. Even for a reader who has already made an effort to learn about the history of American racism, there were some new things here. I particularly liked the anchoring of each chapter on the actions of a real person (which made the one chapter with an obviously imaginary person stand out; since there were real people mentioned later in the chapter I don't know why they did this An overview of the lives of black women in the US that is both easy to read (i.e. not in academic language) and disturbing. Even for a reader who has already made an effort to learn about the history of American racism, there were some new things here. I particularly liked the anchoring of each chapter on the actions of a real person (which made the one chapter with an obviously imaginary person stand out; since there were real people mentioned later in the chapter I don't know why they did this as I feel it weakened the story). There were so many amazing women, I done think they needed to make up that one.I kept noticing the names of women I had heard of first through the songs of Bernice Reagon and Sweet Honey in the Rock - so a big hat tip to them for the education they have done for more than 40 years.Towards the end, the last part of the last chapter began to feel like a rushed laundry list of famous women being name checked. And the authors do not shy away from calling out sexism within the modern civil rights movement, which even now seems brave of them.I wish that people who need to know this information would read this book, but I imagine they will not. You can't fail to be both inspired and discouraged by the obstacles these women had to overcome. We as a country have not done well, but if you don't want to know the truth you won't seek out books like this even though you need to know.
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  • Charles Godfrey Kamukama
    January 1, 1970
    The literature is well crafted which increases ones phrasing, and vocabularies! The book is so captivating and touching to read as it exposes the difficulties black women experienced, and endured amidst the racism and sexism. In it we learn the endurance, and courage in overcoming inevitable curves life always presents.
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  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    An important book that weaves the many stories and lives that Black women have led in the now-United States. Serves as an essential text to show that there is no "single story" of Black womanhood in this country and gives to Black women the individual and complex motivations that are always allowed in white historical figures. And now I want to read a ton of in-depth biographies to learn more about these remarkable women!
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  • Krystal Rains
    January 1, 1970
    Deep Breath...I just finished reading a new 2020 book, A Black Woman's History of the United States, by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross. Each, an esteemed Professor of History, with a focus on Black Women in America.This is the briefest skimming of the topic, but far reaching and meant to engage the reader. It was written for Black Women, but what a primer, not only on why Black Women have little reason or desire to trust White Women, but how they have organized themselves within and Deep Breath...I just finished reading a new 2020 book, A Black Woman's History of the United States, by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross. Each, an esteemed Professor of History, with a focus on Black Women in America.This is the briefest skimming of the topic, but far reaching and meant to engage the reader. It was written for Black Women, but what a primer, not only on why Black Women have little reason or desire to trust White Women, but how they have organized themselves within and throughout communities despite the harshest of circumstances and criticism by whites and their own communities, especially Black Men. As knowledgeable about some of the history of Black people in our country as I might be,I might have known 10% of what I read in this book and it's merely an overview.The details and cross-sections of community, from the earliest days of the 17th century, to our current climate of racism and misogyny, this book lays it out and pulls no punches. There are parts that are intense, but the History of Black Women in this country is nothing but intense. Trigger warnings are provided, but if they could live it, the least I could do was read it. "We specialize in the wholly impossible" is the motto that resonates throughout the pages.
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  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.I really enjoyed reading about some women in history whose stories aren't often told. Of course, you have your heavy hitters in Black women's history: Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, etc. However, you also get to hear about early free Black immigrants and Union spies and unsung civil rights warriors. I understand that the book is meant to be an overview and not comprehensive, but I actually would have enjoyed more I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.I really enjoyed reading about some women in history whose stories aren't often told. Of course, you have your heavy hitters in Black women's history: Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, etc. However, you also get to hear about early free Black immigrants and Union spies and unsung civil rights warriors. I understand that the book is meant to be an overview and not comprehensive, but I actually would have enjoyed more details, as some of the women seem like they could carry far more narrative on their own. Guess I'll just have to seek out further reading on my own (which is probably the point).
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  • Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    Another in a series of books that looks at the history of what we now know as the United States through Black Women. We often hear history through certain or select perspectives: the European colonists who "discovered" the land, the story of Rosa Parks but not the others who came before her, etc. So this was an interesting read.The authors take us through various time periods and ask some hard questions that certainly weren't brought up in my education and I'd bet is still the same now. What of Another in a series of books that looks at the history of what we now know as the United States through Black Women. We often hear history through certain or select perspectives: the European colonists who "discovered" the land, the story of Rosa Parks but not the others who came before her, etc. So this was an interesting read.The authors take us through various time periods and ask some hard questions that certainly weren't brought up in my education and I'd bet is still the same now. What of the women who came to these shores unwillingly, perhaps raped, starved, beaten, etc.? Why do we only know of people like Rosa Parks but not others who took similar actions? Why or how could Black Women also own slaves?This is not to judge, but rather to show how many perspectives we often don't hear about and are very often lost to the mists of history. It was a lot to think about, but in a good way.Overall, though, I'd say the book wasn't the best written. There are some really fascinating passages and as I said, it's food for thought. But overall I found it to be a tough read at times and would not be surprised if it's meant to be more of a textbook for a class. That said, I wouldn't dissuade someone from reading it, just be aware it isn't the easiest text, either by content or reading.Library borrow for me was best.
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  • Anjie
    January 1, 1970
    It's a tall order capturing black women’s places in U.S. history from pre-pilgrims days to the 80s, but these authors are up to the challenge. They start each section with vignettes of ladies (often little known) whose experiences are representative of each era's struggles. Then the authors broaden the perspectives to show what most African American women faced at the time. Entrepreneurs, entertainers, suffragettes, lesbians, transgender women, women who served on the military, slaves, freed It's a tall order capturing black women’s places in U.S. history from pre-pilgrims days to the 80s, but these authors are up to the challenge. They start each section with vignettes of ladies (often little known) whose experiences are representative of each era's struggles. Then the authors broaden the perspectives to show what most African American women faced at the time. Entrepreneurs, entertainers, suffragettes, lesbians, transgender women, women who served on the military, slaves, freed blacks, faith leaders, politicians, the incarcerated, those who built new lives outside of America-- all are given their space to shine. Hard to believe that standard history classes only touch on a handful of names found in the book. All of these women deserve to be remembered, and they can be thanks to this 5-star book.
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  • Jess
    January 1, 1970
    An incredible read. The book is a collaboration that discusses the personal side of black women throughout history in addition to the usual “historical” side, recognizing the humanity in the people featured rather than just impersonal descriptions of events and trends.
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  • Martha
    January 1, 1970
    If we could give half stars in our reviews I would give this book 4.5 stars. This is a book I would like to own one day, and I would like to read every book in the Revisioning American History series.
  • Glennie
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent book. Read about much little known (to me) history of Black Women in the US. Students tend to only get the basics in school; there is so much more to learn.
  • Andréa
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
  • Yanira
    January 1, 1970
    Nothing like I ever read before.
  • Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    This was a 4.5 read for me.Thoughts coming shortly
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