Black Women Historians Encourage Us To #SayHerName with List of Recommended Reading

In response to what seems like a daily onslaught of tragic news about the deaths and assaults of black women at the hands of law enforcement, the Association of Black Women Historians has put together a list of required reading to remind us that the systematic degradation and death of black women in this country is nothing new.

In a statement released Tuesday, the ABWH says:
The members of the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH) are well aware of the ways that black women and girls in America have been violently discriminated against and harassed by law enforcement officials and the legal system. From the earliest days in the colonies when laws failed to punish the rape of black women, to the antebellum era where black women were brutally punished for resisting rapist-enslavers, to the post-emancipation period when the sexual and physical assault of black women went unabated, and right up through the Civil Rights Movement, the judicial system has failed us.

 This history, together with recent incidents against black women and girls such as Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, who a Detroit officer fatally shot while asleep at her grandmother’s house; Dajerria Becton, 14, who a Texas officer violently thrust to the pavement at a pool party; Natasha McKenna, 37, who a Virginia officer tasered to death while in restraints in police custody; Tanisha Anderson, 37, who—during a mental health crisis—a Cleveland police slammed resulting in her death; and Rekia Boyd, 22, who an off-duty Chicago police officer shot in the back of the head, stand as a modern-day “Red Record” of state sanctioned, anti-black female violence. 
The ABWH reminds us that black women have "never been afforded a femininity that deemed them innocent," and have been "berated, sexually abused, and brutally beaten by police."

In support of the #SayHerName and #BlackLivesMatter movements, the statement also reads , "We find that it is crucial to say the names of black women and girls killed, harassed, and abused by police and to state unequivocally that discussions of police brutality cannot focus on black men and masculinity alone."

Check out these ABWH recommended texts for historical context on today's war on Black women:

Photo: a katz /