by Tracey Michae’l
In the midst of the many protests and burgeoning movements happening across the country, responses to the grave injustices committed against people of color—particularly police brutality against Black people—stands immense, sometimes unimaginable pain. The pains of mothers and fathers who have lost their sons and daughters. The heartache of a community who week after week has to endure the emotional and psychological trauma caused by grand juries who imply that, in fact, Black lives don’t matter and those police officers who take Black lives because of whatever racist stereotypes they hold do not have to be, and should not have to be, held accountable for their actions. The restlessness and exhaustion of all of us who are holding on desperately to our sliver of hope and seeking some glimmer of light at the end of a many generations-long battle to be truly seen; to be valued.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, the grandmother of main character Janie Starks says that Black women are the mules of the world. Besides the obvious reference to our subjugation, I’d like to think she also meant that because of our great strength and our even greater capacity to love, we carry the burdens of our brothers and the weight of the world’s wickedness on our backs.
But, oh, how the load gets heavy sometimes. Where do we go to release? Who do we talk to in order to reconcile the "-isms" of our day?
My favorite place to regroup is in a book. In fact, there is actually a very long list of Black women activists and writers who have written about social change, liberation and activism over the years. With their words that sear our minds and hearts, they help us all heal our hearts for more loving, reignite our minds for the work ahead. They help us to reimagine that this world can be a better place for ourselves, our families, and our children.
Here are five “reclaim your sanity” classics you must read:
So as we all try to take a moment to breathe between our grief and our activism, allow the words of these five fellow sister-warriors motivate and inspire you.
What books by Black women writers, thinkers, and activists would you include on this list?
Image credits: Amazon
Tracey Michae’l is a regular contributor for For Harriet.