A Black Women’s History of the United States

To celebrate Black History Month, this week's review centers Black women in its retelling of US history.

A Black women’s history of the United States

Berry, Daina Ramey. by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross Beacon Press, 2020
288p index, 9780807033555 $27.95, 9780807033562

When two award-winning, powerhouse women historians collaborate, what they produce is nothing short of amazing. Berry (Univ. of Texas, Austin) and Gross (Rutgers Univ.) set out to create an inclusive survey of African American women’s history, accessible to students as well as to the general public, focusing on themes of mobility, violence, resistance, activism, labor, and entrepreneurship. They have further succeeded in writing a book that students will be excited to read. The volume is organized in 10 chapters, bookended by an introduction and conclusion. Each chapter, including the introduction and conclusion, opens with a compelling story of a different woman from history whose name is not typically included in history texts. These stories are included chronologically, beginning in the 1600s and ending in 2000 (the conclusion ends with a story from 2018), and cover a broad spectrum of women, including enslaved women, queer women, artists, and activists. The book is supplemented by extensive notes for each chapter and a helpful index.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels.
Reviewer: H. Aquino, Albright College
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – History, Geography & Area Studies – North America
Choice Issue: Feb 2021