It is easy to celebrate black women when it is convenient or comfortable. Americans appreciate black women when our voter turnout leads to necessary victories in Congress. We loved Beyoncé, until she said to stop killing us, and we love Oprah, so long as her messages do not become too radical, of course. But rarely does American society acknowledge the contributions of black women or their role in our history.
There is a great danger in overlooking the roles black women have played in movements of resistance, resilience and revolution. It is important that we break the cycle of this singular form of storytelling.
So, this Women’s History Month, instead of another lesson around mainstream feminist movements, most of which excluded black women, I hope that my fellow educators will pause to focus on all that black women, and other women of color, have contributed to this country and this world. Moreover, let’s talk about more than just Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman ― especially in the narrow ways that we often learn about them.