15 Black Feminist Books for Everyone

Solidarity may be for white women and black power for black men, but these books are for everybody.

Sister Citizen, Melissa Harris-Perry; Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde; Black Girls Are From the Future, Renina Jarmon (Amazon.com)

(The Root) — White feminism’s disregard for black women’s issues is nothing new, and sexism in black power movements from the United States to South Africa is also well documented. So it was no surprise when Twitter exploded on Monday with the #solidarityisforwhitewomen trending topic. Writer Mikki Kendall started the tag in response to the insensitivity of some noted white feminists toward victims of writer Hugo Schwyzer‘s vicious attacks on feminists of color.

On Tuesday, Ebony’s Jamilah Lemieux‘s #blackpowerisforblackmen continued the conversation, this time focusing on the plight of black feminists within the black community. With these hashtags, black feminists used Twitter to revisit discussions that are often ignored in both mainstream feminist media and historical accounts of black liberation struggles. Unsurprisingly, by the end of the night, the #solidarityisforwhitewomen stream was full of tweets from people who clearly don’t read books about black feminism. The #blackpowerisforblackmen hashtag was filled with comments from those who refused to acknowledge black male privilege.

It’s not a good idea to tell black feminists anything about black feminism if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Or, as my grandmother always tells me, don’t open your mouth if you don’t have anything intelligent to say. While I’m tempted just to tell everyone to Google this information on their own, I’ve also compiled a list of black feminist books that everyone should read before entering conversations like the ones these hashtags started.

1. ‘Feminism Is for Everybody,’ by Bell Hooks

Feminism Is for Everybody (Amazon.com)

Feminism Is for Everybody — which explores topics such as reproductive rights, violence, race, class and work — is essential reading by Bell Hooks, one of the most prominent black feminist writers. Her book proves that feminism is, in fact, for everybody.

2. ‘Sister Citizen,’ by Melissa Harris-Perry