Feminist Books to Read During Black History Month

The short definition of feminist is someone who wants women to have equal rights with men. But because of the different issues regarding race, class, sexuality, and gender identity, not all women experience the same reality. For black history month and beyond, pick one of these books written by women of color from a variety of cultures and experiences, and gain a new perspective on what it means to be a woman in this world.

1. Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968–1980 by Kimberly Springer

Women of color during the feminist movement of the 1960s and ‘70s were a driving force, often leading the way, yet still get overlooked for their contributions. Springer’s book highlights the rise and struggles of groups like Third World Women’s Alliance, Black Women Organized for Action, the National Alliance of Black Feminists, and more. The work these groups did still influence the modern intersectional feminist movement, covering not just issues of gender, but of race, class, and sexuality as well.

What to read after:
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks

2. Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

In her collection of essays, Gay makes us laugh with her humor and quick wit while also discussing issues of feminism, politics, LGBT issues, and racism. But while Bad Feminist has its lighter moments, it’s also uncomfortable in the best way possible. Through Gay’s own struggles with feminism through topics such as rape and rape culture, abortion, intersectionality, and more, she calls on the reader to stand up, to be better, and to do better.

What to read after:
I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi
You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

3. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Don’t have a lot of time to read? We Should All be Feminists is only 64 pages long, so no excuses here. (Or, you could even watch her TED talk that the book’s based on. ) Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah, tells us the story of her own journey of learning how to be a feminist, starting with the first time a good friend called her one (not as a compliment) as a young girl in Nigeria. With grace, humor, and insight, Adichie touches on topics that affect women, as well as the ideals of masculinity which have a negative impact on men and boys.

What to read after:
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis

Is your favorite book not on the list? Tell me about it here!

Stephanie was born in Texas but raised in Providence since the age of two. After graduating from Rhode Island College in 2008 she began working in human services as a vocational coach for special needs high school students. Wanting to pursue her love of writing as a career, Stephanie earned her Master's Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2016. She currently works as a freelance writer, editor, blogger, and social media consultant. In addition to writing, she is an expert in Providence restaurants, impractical trivia, and finding a parking spot downtown. Her dream is to write a script that gets made into a movie or Netflix show. 

Photo by Brittanny Taylor