Black feminism

Books on Black Feminism: 50 Recommended Reads

Black feminism has existed since before it had a name. Black women advocate against social inequality by recognizing their unique standpoint at the intersection of race and gender.

Black feminism has existed since before it had a name. Black women advocate against social inequality by recognizing their unique standpoint at the intersection of race and gender. Since the late twentieth century, Black women from a wide range of fields have written extensively about Black feminism and the ways Black women have practiced it historically.

Particularly in the social media sphere, people contend Black feminism and the products of this intellectual thought are in some way new. This list of books clearly indicates that Black feminism on the internet is an extension of ongoing Black feminist intellectual production.

For those interested in reading more about Black feminism, this list of 50 books offers a starting point and incorporates both traditional and contemporary writings on the subject. This list isn’t exhaustive so if there are any Black feminist reads you want to suggest, add them in the comments.

  1. Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
  2. The Black Feminist Reader edited by Joy James and T. Denean Sarpley-Whiting
  3. The Crunk Feminist Collection by Brittney C. Cooper and Susana M. Morris
  4. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
  5. But Some of Us Are Brave edited by Akasha Hull, Patricia Bell-Scott and Barbara Smith
  6.  Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
  7. When and Where I Enter by Paula J. Giddings
  8. When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost by Joan Morgan
  9. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange
  10. Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assembalges, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Humans by Alexander G. Weheliye
  11. The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris
  12. Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
  13. In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose by Alice Walker
  14. Blue Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday by Angela Y. Davis
  15. Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought by Beverly Guy-Sheftall
  16. Dark Continent of Our Bodies: Black Feminism & Politics of Responsibility by E. Frances White
  17. Erotic Revolutionaries: Black Women, Sexuality, and Popular Culture by Shayne Lee
  18. Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
  19. The Black Woman: An Anthology by Toni Cade Bambara 
  20. Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880–1920 by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham
  21. Remaking Respectability: African American Women in Interwar Detroit by Victoria W. Wolcott
  22. Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994 by Deborah Gray White
  23. Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies edited by Frances Smith Foster, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, and Stanlie M. James
  24. Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women edited by Mia E. Bay, Farah J. Griffin, Martha S. Jones, and Barbara D. Savage
  25. Sisters in the Struggle : African-American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement edited by Bettye Collier-Thomas and V.P. Franklin
  26. Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman by Michelle Wallace
  27. Sula by Toni Morrison
  28. Demonic Grounds: Black Women And The Cartographies Of Struggle by Katherine McKittrick
  29. At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Race, and Resistance by Danielle L. McGuire
  30. New Black Feminist Criticism, 1985-2000 edited by Barbara Christian, Gloria Bowles, M. Giulia Fabi, and Arlene Keizer
  31.  Black Girls Are From the Future by Renina Jarmon 
  32. Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells by Ida B. Wells
  33.  A Voice from the South by Anna Julia Cooper 
  34. Taste of Power by Elaine Brown
  35. Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions: Speaking Their Minds edited by Kristin Waters and Carol B. Conaway
  36. Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology edited by Barbara Smith
  37. This Bridge Called My Back, Fourth Edition: Writings by Radical Women of Color edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa 
  38. Maria W. Stewart, America’s First Black Woman Political Writer: Essays and Speeches edited by Marilyn Richardson 
  39. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
  40. The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It by Jo Ann Gibson Robinson
  41. Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery by Jennifer L. Morgan
  42. Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk About Sexuality and Intimacy by Tricia Rose
  43. Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith edited by Alethia Jones, Virginia Eubanks with Barbara Smith
  44. Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision by Barbara Ransby
  45. Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts
  46. Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy, and Childbirth edited by Julia Chinyere Oparah and Alicia D. Bonaparte
  47. Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women’s Consciousness by Ingrid Banks
  48. Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture, and African American Women by Noliwe M. Rooks
  49. Ain’t I a Beauty Queen?: Black Women, Beauty, and the Politics of Race by Maxine Leeds Craig
  50.  Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry by Tiffany M. McGill 


Thanks to Amina Wadud for suggesting Muslim Black feminists be added to the list:

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