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Alexis Pauline Gumbs


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Alexis Pauline Gumbs was the first person to dig through the archives of several radical black feminist mothers including June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Lucille Clifton, and Toni Cade Bambara while writing her dissertation We Can Learn to Mother Ourselves: The Queer Survival of Black Feminism, a 500-page work. Alexis was named one of UTNE Reader’s 50 Visionaries Transforming the World in 2009, a Reproductive Reality Check Shero, and a Black Woman Rising nominee in 2010, and was awarded one of the first ever Too Sexy for 501c3 trophies in 2011! Alexis’s work as co-creator of the Mobile Homecoming experiential archive and documentary project has been featured in Curve magazine, the Huffington Post, in Durham Magazine and on NPR.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs guest-hosts The Laura Flanders Show and talks Revolutionary Mothering with China Martens, Mai’a Williams, Victoria Law and Cynthia Dewi Oka


Check out Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, "Visionary Daughtering: An Intimate and Intellectual Activist Archive" at Michigan State University Inaugural Women of Color Initiatives on February 12th, 2016

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Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines
Edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams with a preface by Loretta J. Ross
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-62963-110-3
Published: 02/2016
Format: Paperback
Size: 9x6
Page count: 272
Subjects: Women's Studies/Family-Parenting
$17.95


Inspired by the legacy of radical and queer Black feminists of the 1970s and ’80s, Revolutionary Mothering places marginalized mothers of color at the center of a world of necessary transformation. The challenges we face as movements working for racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice, as well as anti-violence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation are the same challenges that many mothers face every day. Oppressed mothers create a generous space for life in the face of life-threatening limits, activate a powerful vision of the future while navigating tangible concerns in the present, move beyond individual narratives of choice toward collective solutions, live for more than ourselves, and remain accountable to a future that we cannot always see. Revolutionary Mothering is a movement-shifting anthology committed to birthing new worlds, full of faith and hope for what we can raise up together.

Contributors include June Jordan, Malkia A. Cyril, Esteli Juarez Boyd, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Fabiola Sandoval, Sumayyah Talibah, Victoria Law, Tara Villalba, Lola Mondragón, Christy NaMee Eriksen, Norma Angelica Marrun, Vivian Chin, Rachel Broadwater, Autumn Brown, Layne Russell, Noemi Martinez, Katie Kaput, alba onofrio, Gabriela Sandoval, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, Ariel Gore, Claire Barrera, Lisa Factora-Borchers, Fabielle Georges, H. Bindy K. Kang, Terri Nilliasca, Irene Lara, Panquetzani, Mamas of Color Rising, tk karakashian tunchez, Arielle Julia Brown, Lindsey Campbell, Micaela Cadena, and Karen Su.

Praise:

“This collection is a treat for anyone that sees class and that needs to learn more about the experiences of women of color (and who doesn’t?!). There is no dogma here, just fresh ideas and women of color taking on capitalism, anti-racist, anti-sexist theory-building that is rooted in the most primal of human connections, the making of two people from the body of one: mothering.”
—Barbara Jensen, author of Reading Classes: On Culture and Classism in America

“For women of color, mothering—the art of mothering—has been framed by the most virulent systems, historically: enslavement, colonialism, capitalism, imperialism. We have had few opportunities to define mothering not only as an aspect of individual lives and choices, but as the processes of love and as a way of structuring community. Revolutionary Mothering arrives as a needed balm.”
—Alexis De Veaux, author of Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde

“Although it is primarily written for mothers of all ages, the issues that are raised—about family, love, struggle, sacrifice, and acceptance—are universal as they speak to the revolutionary that exists within all of us.”
—Karsonya Wise Whitehead, PhD, assistant professor of communication and African and African American studies, Loyola University Maryland

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines is juicy, gutsy, vulnerable, and very brave. These women insist on having their children in a society that does not welcome them, in a world that is rapidly falling apart. Their dream for their children, based on their love of them, encompasses the sorrow and the joy that mothers everywhere, whether human, animal, or plant, feel at this time. A radical vision, many radical visions of how to mother in a time of resistance and of pain.”
—Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and activist

“This is the book for readers who know mothering is not just about a baby and a mother or parents in an isolated suburban nursery, but that mothering happens in a context of generations, a context of racial history, and in a spiritual context; that it takes place from the shore line to the front line, in times of scarcity and abundance; that it is queer and love-filled. Here, revolution, love, and mothering are an inseparable unity.”
—Faith Holsaert, coeditor of Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts of Women in SNCC

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What Others are Saying

Revolutionary Mothering: A Review
By Almah LaVon
Novel Niche
October 8th, 2016

Revolutionary Mothering is a dreambook. Place it on your bedstand and when you awaken, scribble your not-quite-daylight visions in the margins so your dreams will be in good company. With its protean take on mothering, expect to pick up a new book each time you open it. And while we’re dreaming, I would have loved more voices from mothers who embody the truth that “mother” is “older and more futuristic than the word ‘woman,’” as Gumbs wrote. Also invoked by Gumbs, I want more stories from the house mothers of ball culture themselves. Next time, then. I have gotten into the habit of collecting radical anthologies, and this one ranks among my favorites: I was rocked and healed and mothered by this open-armed anthology itself, and suspect it will go on to give birth to other anthologies, other worlds. Mothering got next....."

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Revolutionary Mothering: A Review
By Cantrice Janelle Penn
Black Girl Dangerous
July 15th, 2016

"I cracked open Revolutionary Mothering, finding story after story detailing real shit—the raw, the unpopular, the vulnerable. Stuff we’re not supposed to admit to in “woke” communities. Like the mother with dark skin who secretly hopes that her unborn child won’t inherit her own melanin and seems quite aware of how deep the well of internal oppression can run. Or the mother in the US who attempts to adopt a child from her home country, only to find herself navigating the very western, white systems that she otherwise actively resists. Or the mother who reflects on a heteronormative relationship maintained with her then-husband whom she carried financially through school while suppressing her budding identities...."

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Revolutionary Mothering: A Review
Urban Spectrum Newspaper
August 2016

“Revolutionary Mothering” is an initiation into the secret thoughts, fears, joys and pain that mothers feel for the moment of conception, in the midst of childbirth, through the ascension of their children into adulthood. From Loretta Rosses’ preface about being a feminist mother to Alexis Pauline’s Gumbs’ essay titled, “Black Queer Feminist Genealogy For Radical Mothering”, this incredible collection opens a window in mothering history that can never be shut.

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How to Understand Mother as a Verb This Mother’s Day and Alway
By Dani McClain
The Nation
May 7th, 2016

"News reports such as the one that brought this legislation to national attention often describe the problems mothers on the margins face, but it’s rare that we hear women who fall outside idealized notions of motherhood speak for themselves. The book Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines, published earlier this year by PM Press, sets out to change that. It showcases the parenting experiences of people in poverty, teenagers, women with children in the court system, unmarried women, women committed to radical politics, and others too often overlooked in public discourse on parenting. The contributors to the anthology, edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams, are not victims acted upon by policies or pushed into ill-fitting categories by politicians. Instead, they are experts on their own lives, presenting solutions for the challenges they face and stories of the transformations they’ve experienced through mothering or being mothered..."

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11 Must-Read Books about Black Women’s History
By Danielle S
MamaDemics
March 31st, 2016

“Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines is an anthology that centers mothers of color and marginalized mothers’ voices—women who are in a world of necessary transformation. The challenges faced by movements working for antiviolence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation, as well as racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice are the same challenges that marginalized mothers face every day. Motivated to create spaces for this discourse because of the authors’ passionate belief in the power of a radical conversation about mothering, they have become the go-to people for cutting-edge inspired work on this topic for an overlapping committed audience of activists, scholars, and writers.” ~Amazon

There are 9 months left in the year, which books from this list are you committing to reading before the year ends.

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