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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best seller

In her groundbreaking debut, Anna Malaika Tubbs tells the incredible stories 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 20th 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.

©2021 Anna Malaika Tubbs (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"A fascinating exploration into the lives of three women ignored by history after raising sons who helped shape a movement. By tracing the intellectual, political and emotional strands of each woman’s life, Anna Malaika Tubbs uncovers hidden complexities within Black motherhood that illuminate our understanding of the past while also shedding light on the overlooked contributions of Black women today. An eye-opening, engrossing read!" (Brit Bennet, New York Times best-selling author of The Vanishing Half and The Mothers)

"Anna Malaika Tubbs does what Black women do best: hold up the light in darkness, calling us all to do our work.... When we tell the stories of Black women with the sharp truth and clarity Anna has, we can better honour the past and find guidance for the struggles of today. Anna is a powerful storyteller, and we should all be grateful she chose to tell this story." (Brittany Packnett Cunningham, co-host of Pod Save the People and co-founder of Campaign Zero)

"In excavating the life stories of the mothers who reared three of the most central figures in the struggle for civil rights, Anna Malaika Tubbs provides a profound reflection on the contours of Black freedom in the 20th century and beyond.... An essential celebration of Black women, one that illuminates the history of racism and resistance in critical new ways. A timely and important book." (Elizabeth Hinton, author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime)

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  • Kirsten
  • 05-26-22

A brilliant read

This book is a beautiful window into the lives of three women who have huge historical significance. As a white woman and mother, my own experience is vastly different but this book offered insight and depth into the beauty, struggles, love and strength of black mothers in general as well as these three in particular. Brilliant storytelling, a must-read.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-28-22

A triumphant tale of Black Women

This is a well researched, emotional and thought provoking book. Everyone needs to know the true yet relatively unknown stories of the three Black Women and countless other Black women like them who have contributed tremendously towards the betterment of our Society, yet we know so little about them. This book will fill that information gap and it does so with grace.