by Anna Malaika Tubbs
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.
In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the three women who raised and shaped some of America's most pivotal heroes.
Berdis Baldwin, Alberta King, and Louise Little were all born at the beginning of the 20th century and forced to contend with the prejudices of Jim Crow as Black women. These three extraordinary women passed their knowledge to their children with the hope of helping them to survive in a society that would deny their humanity from the very beginning--from Louise teaching her children about their activist roots, to Berdis encouraging James to express himself through writing, to Alberta basing all of her lessons in faith and social justice. These women used their strength and motherhood to push their children toward greatness, all with a conviction that every human being deserves dignity and respect despite the rampant discrimination they faced.
These three mothers taught resistance and a fundamental belief in the worth of Black people to their sons, even when these beliefs flew in the face of America's racist practices and led to ramifications for all three families' safety. The fight for equal justice and dignity came above all else for the three mothers.
These women, their similarities and differences, as individuals and as mothers, represent a piece of history left untold and a celebration of Black motherhood long overdue.
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 twentieth century and beyond. The Three Mothers is 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
Tubbs's connection to these women is palpable on the page -- as both a mother and a scholar of the impact Black motherhood has had on America. Through Tubbs's writing, Berdis, Alberta, and Louise's stories sing. Theirs is a history forgotten that begs to be told, and Tubbs tells it brilliantly. -- Ibram X. Kendi
About the Author:
Anna Malaika Tubbs is a Cambridge Ph.D. candidate in sociology and a Bill and Melinda Gates Cambridge Scholar. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a Bachelor's degree in anthropology, Anna received a Master's degree from the University of Cambridge in multidisciplinary gender studies. Outside of the academy she is an educator, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant, and the First Partner of Stockton, California. She lives with her husband, Michael Tubbs, who is the mayor of Stockton, and their son, Michael Malakai.