Historicizing Black Women’s Leadership in the U.S, 9/10/2019, Response #2

Stacey Abrams, pictured during Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election, has been keeping a spreadsheet of her goals since age18.

 

This week’s readings were about strong black women in leadership in the US. We looked at the leadership of Ida B Wells, Stacey Abrams, and Toni Morrison.  It is riveting to see that only one of these women are political figures, meaning that women can be powerful and lead not only in the traditional aspect such as politics. With Toni Morrison especially, it was very interesting to hear her process behind all her works and how she became the writer she was.  

Often when people think of a leader, women like Toni Morrison do not come to mind. However, they should. As a writer who had to constantly battle white people’s opinions for them to read and acknowledge her work, I believe that takes a different kind of leadership. As Toni Morrison was beginning to become a published writer and her novels were becoming more known, people would describe her as just a “black writer”. Meaning she would only write about experiences of black people. They would try to box her into one category of writing making it seem like she needed to be well versed in non-black literature to become a “great” writer. To this assumption, Morrison would respond that she likes being called a “black writer” and in fact preferred it. This confidence in her writing caused critics and other people to take her writing for what is was and see the beauty in it. Morrison’s ability to write about black experiences in unconventional ways was also how she was able to speak to readers. Her leadership in literature gave a voice for black people and aspiring black writers. 

This week’s reading confirmed that leadership comes in more ways than the traditional position of power. Toni Morrison, Ida B Wells, and Stacey Abrams all saw an opening for their service and remained strong in their leadership. 

 

Picture from: Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images

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