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A Black Women's History of the United States

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  35 reviews
A revealing historyat once sobering and empoweringshowing Black women's expansive contributions since the 1600s.

Spanning over 400 years, this book, written by two award-winning Black women historians, prioritizes all voices: from poor and working-class domestics to middle-class reform women to sex workers and female convicts. The book challenges historical stereotypes and
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Beacon Press
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Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
what a completely devastating but thoroughly inspiring book! this should be required reading for anyone living in the united states. african-american women have indisputably shaped this country yet their hard work and sacrifices have been grossly underappreciated for the last four hundred years. each chapter of this book opens with a vignette of a bold womanfrom isabel de olvera seeking safe passage in the year 1600 to millie and christine mckoy, conjoined twins, who were exploited and ...more
Jessica Howard
I read this whole thing today, and it was fascinating! It's shocking how much of black women's history isn't covered in mainstream history curriculum. Full review coming for Shelf Awareness.
Tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of African people were unceremoniously tossed into watery graves. There, in the rough waters of the Atlantic, the bones of African peopleknown only by their assigned number, if even thatstill remain on the ocean floor.

Free review copy from Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review

Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross state at the Author's Note of A Black Women's History of the
Csimplot Simplot
Excellent book!!!!
Alexis  (TheSlothReader)
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
A really in depth look at some famous and unheard of black women throughout American history. It covers all kind of black women: trans black women, queer black women, and disabled black women. They authors do a really good job of looking at historical documents and then using those to show the perspectives, realities, and injustices faced by black women throughout Anerican history.
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An overview of the lives of black women in the US that is both easy to read (i.e. not in academic language) and disturbing. Even for a reader who has already made an effort to learn about the history of American racism, there were some new things here. I particularly liked the anchoring of each chapter on the actions of a real person (which made the one chapter with an obviously imaginary person stand out; since there were real people mentioned later in the chapter I don't know why they did this ...more
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
Daina Ramey Berry wrote a book that is both inspiring and brutal. Thoroughly researched, this one is an intensive and detailed overview of the lives of black women in the USA. Easy to read, this one will teach you things you didn't know even if you have previously studied the subject. Each chapter centers itself on a real woman and what she did with her life. Sojourner Truth, Katherine Johnson and Rosa Parks among many others. Some of these women's names are well-known. Others not at all.

At one
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fantastic history. I would love even more specialized studies, of disabled black women, of LGBTQ+ black women, but the writers did a great job of being inclusive.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
An important book that weaves the many stories and lives that Black women have led in the now-United States. Serves as an essential text to show that there is no "single story" of Black womanhood in this country and gives to Black women the individual and complex motivations that are always allowed in white historical figures. And now I want to read a ton of in-depth biographies to learn more about these remarkable women!
Charles Godfrey Kamukama
The literature is well crafted which increases ones phrasing, and vocabularies! The book is so captivating and touching to read as it exposes the difficulties black women experienced, and endured amidst the racism and sexism. In it we learn the endurance, and courage in overcoming inevitable curves life always presents.
Krystal Rains
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Deep Breath...

I just finished reading a new 2020 book, A Black Woman's History of the United States, by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross. Each, an esteemed Professor of History, with a focus on Black Women in America.

This is the briefest skimming of the topic, but far reaching and meant to engage the reader. It was written for Black Women, but what a primer, not only on why Black Women have little reason or desire to trust White Women, but how they have organized themselves within and
Edith Westfall
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book draws you in and takes you on an uncomfortable journey. One that is completely worth it. Read this book.
Mark Ballinger
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This was filled with many fascinating stories, but all too often they were too short. I wanted to learn so much more about these women.

Part of this is the missing historical record of people who are not part of the dominant narrative. These women get no attention, as a line from the book says: "They may have glanced at her once, but they did not actually see her."
I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

I really enjoyed reading about some women in history whose stories aren't often told. Of course, you have your heavy hitters in Black women's history: Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, etc. However, you also get to hear about early free Black immigrants and Union spies and unsung civil rights warriors. I understand that the book is meant to be an overview and not comprehensive, but I actually would have enjoyed more
Another in a series of books that looks at the history of what we now know as the United States through Black Women. We often hear history through certain or select perspectives: the European colonists who "discovered" the land, the story of Rosa Parks but not the others who came before her, etc. So this was an interesting read.

The authors take us through various time periods and ask some hard questions that certainly weren't brought up in my education and I'd bet is still the same now. What of
Peter Heisler
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With so much history to cover, the authors do a tremendous job connecting the narratives into a unified whole. Their transitions and recaps really helped me follow along and retain knowledge--though I found myself flipping back to remember names and events, making me think of this work almost as a reference book. Yet the themes they draw out are inspiring and galvanizing in a way that goes far beyond the encyclopedic.
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I'm ashamed to admit how much I learned because this book contains so much important history that I should have been taught in elementary and high school. I feel the book did an amazing job of highlighting a lot of inspiring and uplifting stories of black women who persevered, throughout the entirety of American history, despite all the discrimination and obstacles that were a constant presence in their lives. A must read.
It's a tall order capturing black womens places in U.S. history from pre-pilgrims days to the 80s, but these authors are up to the challenge. They start each section with vignettes of ladies (often little known) whose experiences are representative of each era's struggles. Then the authors broaden the perspectives to show what most African American women faced at the time. Entrepreneurs, entertainers, suffragettes, lesbians, transgender women, women who served on the military, slaves, freed ...more
Steve Dustcircle
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent abbreviation of black women in American history, hitting some of the big names as well as the unknowns. Covers politically-involved women, musical women, actresses, and those overlapping or in between.
Barbara White
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Black Women's History of the United States would be a great resource or text for high school and college classes about black women in U.S. history. It gave me new insights into inspirational women. Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for a copy of this book.
Scott Martin
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
American history can be a tough subject, and it can be difficult to find new and fresh way to tell the tale. This one finds a way to do so, through an analysis of the history of black women. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the work is the research that the authors did to find accounts about the lives of early black women in America (the colonies and the early Republic days). It is a combination of personal accounts with discussions/analysis of life for black women in America throughout ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An incredible read. The book is a collaboration that discusses the personal side of black women throughout history in addition to the usual historical side, recognizing the humanity in the people featured rather than just impersonal descriptions of events and trends. ...more
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't have anything to say really. We have so many untold stories and this book is very educational/informative. Should be required reading in k-12 education.
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nothing like I ever read before.
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, 2020-reads
Excellent book. Read about much little known (to me) history of Black Women in the US. Students tend to only get the basics in school; there is so much more to learn.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a 4.5 read for me.

Thoughts coming shortly
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
An important perspective on the US. Very readable.
Terri Farris
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Comprehensive and informative. In need of another volume to flesh out the end.
Surina Venkat (In the Margins)
Review to come! I really enjoyed this book.
Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
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Daina Ramey Berry is an associate professor of history and African and African diaspora studies, and the George W. Littlefield Fellow in American History, at the University of Texas at Austin. An award-winning historian, she is also a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

Author photo: Brenda Ladd Photography

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