#RadicalReadz: The Three Mothers by Anna Tubbs

In her groundbreaking and essential debut book, The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black mother­hood by telling the story of the women who raised and shaped three of America’s most pivotal heroes: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin.

Tubbs’ 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’ writing, Berdis, Alberta, and Louise’s stories sing. Theirs is a history forgotten that begs to be told, and Tubbs tells it so viscerally and beautifully.

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. We’re also deeply grateful to receive a donation of 100 copies of The Three Mothers for use in our programming with youth who have been incarcerated or otherwise system-impacted. Many the next generation grow up learning as much about Berdis, Alberta and Louise as they will learn about James, Martin and Malcolm.

Building a movement to end child incarceration & transform the justice system. #JusticeLeagueNYC | CashApp: $Gathering4Justice | www.gatheringforjustice.org/