An uplifting collection of speeches by African American women, curated by the civil and human rights activist, scholar, and author
With an expansive historical lens, Blackbirds Singing celebrates the tradition of Black women's political speech and labor, allowing the voices and powerful visions of African American women to speak across generations building power for the world.
When Mary Ann Shadd Cary--the first Black woman publisher in North America--declared, "break every yoke . . . let the oppressed go free" to congregants in Chatham, Canada, in 1858, she joined a tradition of African American women speaking for their own liberation. Drawing from a rich archive of political speeches, acclaimed activist and author Janet Dewart Bell, the author of Lighting the Fires of Freedom, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, explores this tradition in Blackbirds Singing.
Gathering an array of recognized names as well as new discoveries, Bell curates two centuries of stirring public addresses by Black women, from Harriet Tubman and Ella Baker to Barbara Lee and Barbara Jordan. These magnificent speakers explore ethics, morality, courage, authenticity, and leadership, highlighting Black women speaking truth to power in service of freedom and justice.
About the Author
Janet Dewart Bell is a social justice activist with a doctorate in leadership and change from Antioch University. She founded the Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society series at the New York University School of Law and is the author of Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement and Blackbirds Singing: Inspiring Black Women's Speeches from the Civil War to the Twenty-First Century and the co-editor (with Vincent M. Southerland) of Carving Out a Humanity and Race, Rights, and Redemption (all published by The New Press). An award-winning television and radio producer, she lives in New York City.