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Wake Up America: Black Women on the Future of Democracy (Hardcover)
From the coeditor of the best-selling Four Hundred Souls, a galvanizing anthology for those seeking to build an inclusive democracy.
In 1968, civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer called for Americans to “wake up” if they wanted to “make democracy a reality.” Today, as Black communities continue to face challenges built on centuries of discrimination, her plea is increasingly urgent. In this exhilarating anthology of original essays, Keisha N. Blain brings together the voices of major progressive Black women politicians, grassroots activists, and intellectuals to offer critical insights on how we can create a more equitable political future.
These women draw on their diverse experiences and expertise to speak to three core themes: claiming civil and human rights, building political and economic power, and combating all forms of hate. We hear from Black Lives Matter cofounder Alicia Garza, who argues that Black communities must organize to wield increased political power; EMILYs List president Laphonza Butler, who spells out ways to fight for women’s reproductive rights; and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who delineates practical, thorough steps toward tangible reparations. Additional incisive essays include those by former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner; prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba; disability rights activist Andraéa LaVant; Boston’s first woman and first Black mayor, Kim Michelle Janey; and others at the forefront of the ongoing fight for social justice.
In addressing our most pressing issues and providing key takeaways, Wake Up America serves as a blueprint for the steps we can take right now and in the years to come.
About the Author
Keisha N. Blain is professor of Africana studies and history at Brown University. She is a columnist for MSNBC, a Guggenheim Fellow, and author—most recently of the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Until I Am Free. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
A dynamic chorus of voices leading the way in bolstering a true democracy.
— Kirkus Reviews
The writers of Wake Up America deliver a clear and compelling message: join with Black women in co-creating a multiracial democracy built on justice. This book is as urgent as it is imperative.
— Ibram X. Kendi, best-selling author of How to Be an Antiracist
Wake Up America provides a perfect distillation of some of the most brilliant thinkers and leaders of our time. I highly recommend this volume of essays to anyone seeking to deepen their analysis of the issues and expand their notion of what’s possible.
— Bree Newsome Bass, award-winning artist, organizer, and activist
This is an invaluable collection and an essential read for everyone committed to building a just and equal society.
— Angela Rye, award-winning commentator, host, and social justice advocate
Wake Up America is a monumental achievement. Firmly rooted in the Black radical tradition, it brims with incisive political critique, ambitious freedom dreaming, and principled calls to action. Refusing false dichotomies between theory and practice, the contributors to this historic collection confront the most urgent and persistent issues facing Black women with critical analysis and actionable solutions.
— Marc Lamont Hill, coauthor of Seen and Unseen
In this sage collection, Keisha N. Blain has brought together a vital and vibrant array of voices united by a singular concern: our future as a nation. For the past decade, Black women have quietly gone about the work of saving American democracy. It's way past time for these voices to be heard and heeded.
— Jelani Cobb, award-winning journalist and coeditor of The Matter of Black Lives