Very informative book about the U.S. from 1944-1975. The amount of bold sexual violence against black girls/women is crazy–like we are truly living in a sick world. But this book shows the power in telling your rape story and documents the resilience of these girls/women.
Respectability politics is at the center of a lot of these issues–from strategically using Rosa Parks as the face of the bus boycott because the woman who could have been the face turned out to be pregnant and not married (1955) to proving that Joan Little, an imprisoned person who killed a cop that raped her in her cell, had the right to defend herself despite her “criminal” history (1975). It all circles back to basic human dignity and who counts as a person.
I also can’t stop thinking about what James Baldwin said to a journalist who told him he thought black people were citizens but that he didn’t want his daughter marrying one (1956):
You’re not worried about me marrying your daughter–you’re worried about me marrying your wife’s daughter. I’ve been marrying your daughter since the days of slavery.
Links to my book: