Anna Malaika Tubbs tells three stories that are often overlooked but deeply important to civil rights history ... Tubbs also makes room for moments of discovery that help us better understand how each of these civil rights icons’ social activism and artistic endeavors were shaped by their mothers’ shining examples. For instance, Alberta King’s radical maternal tenderness set the groundwork for how her son would view himself as a 'mother' birthing a dream of racial equality ... As Tubbs explained in an interview for BookPage, there is a troubling binary between motherhood and intellectual labor, and her writing about three women whose sons’ lives were shaped by their mothers (and not vice versa) is an attempt to turn that binary on its head.
Tubbs does a masterful job of interweaving the facts of these women’s lives into the evolving social and political histories of civil rights, including accounts of the horrific injustices suffered by women of color. This book arose out of Tubbs’ doctoral dissertation on Black motherhood. Her passion to give voices to overlooked people of color is evident, and her storytelling is compelling. This important piece of scholarship and profoundly personal portrayal of African American women deserves a wide audience.
Endurance and resilience are the themes here. In the face of racism, sexism and tremendous violence, these three mothers survive. They are honored, in these pages, as the extraordinary women they were, in their own right. This ambitious book reframes African American history, supplying the female Black experience as a much-needed perspective.