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We Speak Your Names We Speak Your Names

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  169 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
For centuries, African American women have been remaking the world, giving testament to the power of hope, courage, and resilience. But it took the inspired generosity of Oprah Winfrey to honor fully the many gifts of sisterhood. For three amazing days-from May 13 to 15, 2005–a distinguished group of women was invited to celebrate the enduring achievements of twenty-five o ...more
ebook, 64 pages
Published March 25th 2009 by One World (first published January 1st 2006)
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Adira
The emotion I got from reading this poem is hard to put into words. I felt as if Cleage took my feelings I keep written across my heart and mind about my iconic black sheroes and placed them into this poem. I recommend that EVERYBODY read this poem.
MrsChris
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an incredible little book/poem. I am ashamed to admit this but before reading this I had no idea who Pearl Cleage was. (I should also disclose that I really don't like poetry.) This is a poem that she wrote for an Oprah organized event to honor legendary black women. What an honor Cleage bestows on each of them with this poem. The rest of this book is a small bio on each woman that was honored, which was so helpful because I was unfamiliar with many of them. Now I'm inspired, not only as a ...more
Phyllis
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-500
I have wanted to read this for a long time. Finally found it as an audiobook at my local library. Love it and definitely would listen to it again.
Linda
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! A must read.
Chrissy Branom
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This was a beautiful poem written in a very small book. It felt powerful and full of emotion while recounting strong women from times past.
Mocha Girl
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This little book is priceless! Inspired by Oprah Winfrey's vision to celebrate the accomplishments of extraordinary African American women, Pearl Cleage answered the call by penning the poem that was key to Winfrey's 2005 Living Legends event. Cleage drew inspiration from the honoree's accomplishments and with a line-up that included greats like Katheryn Dunham, Cicely Tyson, Toni Morrison, Coretta Scott, King, Diana Ross, etc., it was easy to pick a muse and let her imagination flow.

The poem c
...more
Blue
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We Speak Your Names by Pearl Cleage with Zaron W Burnett Jr. Read by Pearl Cleage Audio
As I listened to this beautiful and true poem read by Pearl Cleage, I felt swept away to another place. It was a place of love, peace and security. Pearl Cleage's voice took me to a place in my heart where I could applaud, praise and remember the strong, successful women who are a part of my roots. As she named names of these women I felt goose bumps each time. She named Cicely Tyson, Nancy Wilson, Oprah Winfr
...more
L.A.
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This pocket-sized gift book contains the text of the poem Cleage wrote for Oprah Winfrey's Legends ball. It's a lovely, moving piece about sisterhood and matriarchal lineage, and a clever person could quite easily adapt it to a theatrical production, spoken-word piece, or public ritual. Also contains mini-biographies of all the women honored in the poem. Women looking for a great present for a special woman in their life should consider this.
Jen Woo
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Cleage acknowledges and praises the spirits of strong, influential, magical black women. She honors those that paved history - "free women, born of free women, who are born of free women, back as far as time begins, we celebrate your freedom". Cleage, through her oral history, raises the light for a younger generation.
Mickey Reed
Apr 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women who want some inspiration
Shelves: audio, 2010
This poem was written for Oprah's Legends Event. Poem form is my least favorite venue for words because I'm a stickler for grammar. Rules can be broken all over the place in poems, and they were here for sure. But if you can look past that, the message is inspirational. This poem examines the lives of strong, successful African-American women. A little repetitive but not bad.
Crystal
I enjoyed the poem and I appreciated learning a little bit about each of the women honored in the poem. I wanted to know more about them. There are some amazing women celebrated here and I wished that the biographical notes were a little more in depth, but that just means I'll be doing research in the future. Perhaps her purpose was to intrigue us enough to seek out more.
Marilyn
I was familiar with Pearl Cleage from her novels. This was my first exposure to her as a poet. This short book features a lengthy praise poem in honor of the 25 women celebrated at Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball in 2005. Enjoyed it & will look to read more poems by Cleage.
Sabrina
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I think I just expected more. The poem was nice but I didn't feel like the short biographies did any of the women honored justice. I also think it might have been better to detail the women's accomplishments before the poem.
Dee
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After I watched Oprah's Celebration of Black Women, I HAD TO GET THIS BOOK!! The event, the youngin's, the gems of our time... PRICELESS!! Oprah truly outdid herself with that celebration. Soooo much talent in the same room, under the same tent. I can only imagine the wisdom that was shared!!
Kuda
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a tribute, a eulogy, a statement, a tear jerker. This book is everything. If you are a young black woman attempting to set your mark in this world please read this book.
"We speak your names because we are free women born of free women born of free women..."
Lauri
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book of poetry honoring influential African-American women. The poem was written for a celebration of legendary women celebrated at Oprah's home. Just lovely. Should be read in high schools all over the country.
Nikita T. Mitchell
I love this poem, and I love how this book captures Pearl Cleage's emotional connection with each of the women the poem honors.
Glenis Redmond
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was water for my spirit. I highly recommend it.
R.K. Byers
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SOMEBODY has gotta pay tribute to Black women. it's just a shame they seem to always hafta do it themselves.
Mandy Porter
This is really a 2.5. I neither liked it or disliked it. I have not read a lot of poetry so this is really hard for me to critique.
Winsome
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
beautiful & inspirational
Vanessa
Dec 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book! We speak your name is a must read for women, from all walks of life.
Theresa Thomas
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
African-American women have been remaking the world. Tireless efforts of giving testament to the power of hope, courage and endurance. A celebration to sisterhood
Sisdr
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Throughout generations good company has always been a better choice than liquid courage. Pearl Cleague's tribute to living legends is both.
Ann
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love Her Work

This short article is worth the read. The poetic prose is like music. It is empowering and inspiring. I will read over and over.
Anjaana Chadha
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book speak of women who are or have been powerful influence on history, literature and science. I end up admiring the writing or the poem about these women who needed to acknowledged.
Daphne
rated it it was ok
Mar 12, 2016
Lolita The Librarian
rated it really liked it
Oct 14, 2011
Imani406
rated it liked it
Nov 23, 2015
Beth
rated it it was amazing
May 22, 2012
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Pearl Cleage (born December 7, 1948) is an African-American author whose work, both fiction and non-fiction, has been widely recognized. Her novel What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day was a 1998 Oprah Book Club selection. Cleage is known for her feminist views, particularly regarding her identity as an African-American woman. Cleage teaches drama at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

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