It has already been a historic year for Black women, and this week we can reflect on the legacies of history-making women who paved the way for our successes today. The long-awaited biography Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells; Cicely Tyson’s, Just as I Am: A Memoir; and conversations with Shirley Chisholm in Shirley Chisholm: The Last Interview have all landed on our list of releases this week. Additionally, Clover Hope, formerly the culture editor of our sister site Jezebel, is giving us hip hop her-story with The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop on February 2, (and will be telling us all about her ultimate guide to women in hip hop next Friday, February 5, in our The Root Presents: It’s Lit! podcast).
As previously noted, I’ve been really excited about the Young Adult books coming out in 2021 because I love the way authors are using their platforms to educate young readers on important topics while still remaining in an accessible genre. The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, Young Readers Edition is releasing on February 2, and I am looking forward to seeing how Parks’ story is explored through a different lens.
Black women are featuring heavily in our fictional releases, as well: Wings of Ebony, the debut release from fantasy writer J. Elle, came out on January 26 and explores activism in Black communities throughout generations (and worlds), while other fiction and nonfiction works explore different ways of living and coping in Black America.
Black women have been shaping American history and advocating for the rights of Black people longer than any other group. Their histories, lives and activism have been respected yet often overlooked—but not in many of the books dropping this week and next. Grab your stack of books, audiobooks and (try to) find an uninterrupted place where you can get lost in these inspiring stories.