FLAT-FOOTED TRUTHS by Patricia Bell-Scott


Telling Black Women's Lives
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A vibrant and passionate collection of writings by a disparate group of African-American women. Bell-Scott, a contributing editor at Ms. magazine, has assembled the voices of 27 writers who offer insights into the lives of black women. In the first of its four sections, the writers muse on the risks and rewards of sharing one’s life with others. Poet, novelist, and performance artist Sapphire recounts the healing effect that writing had on her. Rendering her no longer invisible as a black lesbian “survivor,” the written word verified her existence. Sapphire compares the initial stages of creating Precious, the controversial central character of her first novel Push, to a pregnancy whose outcome is a “beautiful child.” The second section of Flat-Footed Truths focuses on the attempts of African-American women to reclaim the lives of those black women who’ve been neglected. Alice Walker presents a fascinating account of her journey to Zora Neale Hurston’s hometown of Eatonville, Fla., in her determination to find out the circumstances of Hurston’s death and to provide her grave with a proper headstone. The following section, “Telling Lives As Resistance,” reflects on the dangers of remaining silent in the face of racism and sexism. The excerpts from Anita Hill’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas remain as riveting as when they were first broadcast on national television. Audre Lorde’s essay “Poetry Is Not a Luxury” speaks about the power of poetry to realize dreams and give Black women “the strength and courage to see, to feel, to speak and to dare.” The final section, “Telling Lives As Transformation,” speaks about the power of the written word to transform lives and to literally save them. Sonia Sanchez sees her poetry as an opportunity not only to save herself, but to “give Black people strength, power and a sense of themselves.” A highly accessible collection of essays, interviews, poems, and photographs that provide penetrating insights into the lives of African-American women, and all women, past and present.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8050-4628-3
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1998


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