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We Can Speak for Ourselves

We Can Speak for Ourselves by Billye Sankofa Waters
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This work is an intervention ofself-representation that explores experiences of five Black mothers of the sameChicago elementary school with respect to their relationship with the author –a qualitative researcher – over a period of two years. Black feministepistemology is the framework that directed this project, fieldwork, andinterpretation of the findings. Additionally, this work employs tools ofpoetry, counternarratives, and critical ethnography. 

Billye Sankofa Waters reiterates the plaintivelament of the mothers of 1970s Boston when they said, ‘When we fight abouteducation we’re fighting for our lives.’ This story of parents in Chicago ispowerful, poignant, and oh so familiar. This is a must read!” – GloriaLadson-Billings, Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education,University of Wisconsin-Madison

the ways that Black mothers come to know and participatein their children’s education. We Can Speak for Ourselves plumbs Black feministepistemology and critical theory to create a new model that reimagines thecritical terrain of both public and private African American female‘motherwork.’ It is intersectionally deft in how it attends to both structuralissues of inequality and intragroup negotiation of identity. This book is bold,well-researched and an important contribution to the fields of Education,Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies and Public Policy.” – Michele T. Berger,University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; author of Workable Sisterhood: ThePolitical Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS and co-author ofTransforming Scholarship: Why Women’s and Gender Studies Students Are ChangingThemselves and the World

We Can Speak for Ourselves is a necessary readfor everyone, especially Black mothers, who are on the front lines of the BlackLives Matter Movement. After all, the movement at its core is about resistingthe anti-Black society in which Black mothers are forced to raise theirchildren. Sankofa Waters beautifully blends personal writings,counternarratives, and the voices of five Black mothers to create a book thatgives us new language to address the issues impacting Black families and Blacksurvival. Through this work, Sankofa Waters expertly depicts the struggles ofBlack mothers as organic intellectuals deconstructing, critiquing, andnavigating the power structures that oppress their sons, daughters, and Blackcommunities at large.” – Bettina L. Love, University of Georgia; Board Chair ofThe Kindezi School in Atlanta, Georgia; 2016 Nasir Jones Fellow at the W. E. B.Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University; and author of Hip Hop’s Li’lSistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South

SensePublishers; December 2015
161 pages; ISBN 9789463002714
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Title: We Can Speak for Ourselves
Author: Billye Sankofa Waters
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