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Publisher's Summary

A 2021 NAACP Image Award Nominee: Outstanding Literary Work - Non-Fiction

Honorable Mention for the 2021 Organization of American Historians Darlene Clark Hine Award

A vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are - and have always been - instrumental in shaping our country.

In centering Black women’s stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women’s unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today.

A Black Women’s History of the United States reaches far beyond a single narrative to showcase Black women’s lives in all their fraught complexities. Berry and Gross prioritize many voices: enslaved women, freedwomen, religious leaders, artists, queer women, activists, and women who lived outside the law. The result is a starting point for exploring Black women’s history and a testament to the beauty, richness, rhythm, tragedy, heartbreak, rage, and enduring love that abounds in the spirit of Black women in communities throughout the nation.

©2020 Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross (P)2020 Beacon Press

Critic Reviews

"This book is a font of inspiration.... A compact, exceptionally diverse introduction to the history of Black women in America." (Kirkus Reviews starred review)

"A substantial addition to popular history. Will likely be well-received by black women seeking better historical representation and by allies looking to educate themselves about black history." (Library Journal starred review)

"Captivating, highly readable.... A timely and much-needed restoration." (Booklist)

Featured Article: Celebrate and Honor Juneteenth with These Important Listens

On June 19, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 to announce the news of the Emancipation Proclamation to the residents of the state of Texas—finally freeing all remaining enslaved people, nearly two and a half years after President Lincoln’s original proclamation. Juneteenth is an opportunity for the African American community to honor their history, achievements, and important contributions to America. Here are outstanding Juneteenth audiobooks in recognition of our newest federal holiday.

What listeners say about A Black Women's History of the United States

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Compelling and rich with many names and events Iwas unaware of until now

Flowed very well well with loads of valuable information and insight into so many different events and brave women throughout our Nation’s history. My only criticism is purely and strictly in the editing of their information at the beginning of the book. The first two chapters were a bit choppy in bouncing back and forth through time with less than smooth transmissions on some places. Also a few instances of redundancy. Would advise a quick edit only there to smooth that out just a bit before the next edition goes to press. This book should be required reading though in US History courses everywhere. It is inexcusable that at 54 the majority of these events and heroines were people and a time I had no knowledge of at all. I am a college educated woman who has taken many history courses. Not one of them covered this material. Inexcusable.

8 people found this helpful

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Left feeling empowered

As a bi racial woman raised by my white mother, I often feel a sense of exclusion. After listening to this book left me feel connected on so many levels, to many of the women in this book.

7 people found this helpful

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absolutely wonderful the story kept my attention

loved it thank you ladies makes me proud to be a black woman in America ❤️

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So much information I was unaware of

So much information I was unaware of. This was an amazing book and to hear so many brilliant, beautiful Black female minds came together to gift the world with this book was the cherry on top. Thank you!

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LOVE THIS!!

Fantastic walk through the contributions of Black Women's gifts, talents, and sacrifices for freedom, equality, and celebration of culture. Exactly what we need to renew and stay with the good fight until victory is won.

4 people found this helpful

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What I Needed To Read In 2020!!

I knew bits and pieces of our history as told through the stories of men. This project was thoughtfully researched and presented in a way that just made sense. Many familiar names but it is the names of those not so popular or even unnamed whose stories I find the most captivating.
I enjoyed visualizing my sisters through each period and truly seeing these women in my own life as I enjoy the liberties of their sacrifice.
2020 has been rough but in perspective, atrocities have been heaped on black women for centuries. The world is just now waking up to what we have known since the first shackle was placed on our delicate but strong wrist.

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  • JB
  • 12-02-20

This is ME

After reading/listening to this history of African-American Women in the United States of America, I understand my grandparents, parents, siblings, and myself. This comprehensive history of those unknown and known will become the foundation for my education of my husband, our children, grandchildren, and other young people. I know now that the strength I used to serve in the military for over 3 decades, is innate, inherited, and meant to inspire generations of others. Thanks to the authors and MOST IMPORTANTLY thank you to the women whose spirit/essence I inherited, lives within all of us

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Inspiring, thought-provoking, and moving

This is one of the most important books of 2020. The authors highlight the lives of Black women through compelling stories that will reframe the way you view American history.

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amazing and an eye opener

this was a amazingly written. I habe learned so much about where my people came from and the challenges they've had to go through with. I cannot feel for what my grandparents and ancestors had to go through.

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A must read and we need more of these!!

I don’t know where to begin. As a Black women in these United States, reading my own history is both jarring and inspiring. I cry because I know, we all know, that a there are so many stories that were erased over the years by virtue of them being from Black women. We deserve so much more. I also so appreciated the mention of sexism and misogyny coming from Black men, and the conflict it brings Black women who needs to both fight systemic forms of oppression and try to minimize the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes about Black men while enduring so much harm on so many fronts. The burden is heavy but this book shows me that my sisters will never stop fighting no matter the year or century and no matter the new evil that gets thrown our way. So in their honor and name, I will keep my head up, because I’m not alone.

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  • Christine Helfrich
  • 10-29-20

Needs to be required reading for every student

Why did I not learn of these women while growing up in Maryland? This history if black women using courts, laws and activism to win freedom for themselves and their families. This is not just black history but US history for all no matter our skin color. The individual stories of women suing for their rights in colonial and later early US courts should be taught in elementary schools. These were intelligent women who could understand rights and laws despite white oppression. These are stories that all Americans should know and revere.

1 person found this helpful