'A fascinating exploration into the lives of three women ignored by history ... Eye-opening, engrossing' Brit Bennett, bestselling author of The Vanishing Half In her groundbreaking debut, Anna Malaika Tubbs tells the incredible, moving story of three women who raised three world-changing men. Much has been written about Berdis Baldwin's son James, about Alberta King's son Martin Luther and Louise Little's son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them, each fighting their own battles, born into the beginning of the twentieth century and a deadly landscape of racial prejudice, Jim Crow, exploitation, unpoliced violence and open police vitriol. It was a society that would deny their sons' humanity from the beginning as it had denied theirs, but Berdis, Alberta and Louise were extraordinary women who instilled resilience, resistance and greatness in their sons. They would become mothers not just to three world-famous men but to the civil rights movement itself. These women represent a piece of history left untold and a celebration of Black motherhood long overdue.
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I wish that more could have actually be said about the three rather obscure women in question (to say that the three "shaped a nation," as specified in the subtitle, is an overstatement). The book is admirably researched, but Tubbs's discursive and somewhat redundant writing style takes some getting used to. There's a fair amount of editorializing as well. Still, this book is a laudable tribute to three often-overlooked figures.
I listened to this book from Audible.com. It sounded very much like a dissertation, and I believe Tubbs mentioned that this was the topic of her PhD work from either Oxford or Cambridge. This highlights the weakness of listening to--rather than the reading of--a book. I took one half star off from my ratings because of Tubbs accent: she swallows her "t's." I'm fairly sure this is a regional accent, but I found it annoying. Then I found my irritation annoying!