ABSTRACT

The publication of one’s first book is emblematic of a success and also arrival in academia. Shortly after publication, I spent about an hour browsing the library catalogs of Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, Clark Atlanta University, University of London, and Cambridge University searching for my book. 1 Although I had immersed myself in this work for years with the hope that it would provide a clearer picture of the way Black women resist marginalization and oppression in urban spaces, it was the first time I understood that my book was available to be read and critiqued by scholars all over the world. A first generation, non-elite HBCU-educated, working-class African American female born in Saint Louis and raised in Long Beach, the presence of my work in libraries of these varied and esteemed institutions was a singular representation of my contribution, albeit small, to the world of scholarly discourse. This affirmation was important because I strove to write Urban Black Women and the Politics of Resistance on my own terms and not those of a discipline whose “methods” have largely silenced the voices and made invisible the agency of Black women. Consequently, this book is truly the result of attachment and desire: my attachment to thinking about Black womanhood in cities and my desire to apply Black feminist methods in producing an account of Black women’s politics. I stayed faithful to the ideas, passions, and methods of scholars like Beth Ritchie, Irma McClaurin, Katherine McKittrick, and many others, who urge Black women to tell our truths as we experienced them, using the ideas, critiques, methodological standards, and writing practices established by feminists of color who remain actively devoted to social justice and the production of quality scholarship. I use the broader conceptual paradigm of intersectionality to tell the stories of Black political women of Newark, and to give other Black girl scholars who find themselves in university libraries the faith and hope that they could do the same, and even better.