Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines

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, 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.


“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

About the Editors:

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.

China Martens is a writer, glamazon, and empty-nest low-income anti-racist white radical single mother. She is the author of The Future Generation: The Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends and Others (Atomic Book Company, 2007), and coeditor of Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities (PM Press, 2012). Since 2003, China has cofacilitated numerous workshops to create support for parents and children in activist and radical communities at universities, conferences, and healing spaces across the United States and Canada including the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Conference, Allied Media Conference, and book fairs from Montreal to New Orleans; Minneapolis to Santa Fe; and New York City to San Francisco. She also was a cofounder of Kidz City, a radical childcare collective in Baltimore (2009–2013) and is connected to a national circle of radical childcare collectives established at the 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit.

Mai’a Williams is the creator and director of Water Studio, which supports and co-creates with underground community artists and revolutionaries in Cairo, Egypt, and she organizes with the Revolutionary Youth Councils of Cairo, which were among the leading forces during the 2011 ouster of Mubarak. It was her living and working with Palestinian, Congolese, and Central American indigenous mothers in resistance communities, that initially inspired her to become a mother and continues to guide her as she practices this life-giving work called radical mothering. Her essays, short stories and poetry have been published in make/shift, Mamaphiles, Tenacious, Popshot, Woman’s Work, Lilith Devotional, and Colored Girls. She is the instigator of the Outlaw Midwives movement, zines, and blog, which shifts the discourse around birth, life, death, and healing by offering a vision of radical empowerment and accountability. In 2008, she published the anthology Revolutionary Motherhood, a collection of writing and visual art about mothering on the margins, which became the inspiration for Revolutionary Mothering.

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