Category Archives: Resources for Staff

Breonna Taylor and The Mistreatment of Black Women

Breonna Taylor was shot and killed on March 13th, 2020 when three police officers raided her home in the middle of the night in search of a man who was already in custody elsewhere. On September 23rd, one of the officers (who had been terminated earlier) was charged with “wanton endangerment” for firing into the apartment without having a clear line of sight on his target.  There were no other charges, and no one was charged with causing Taylor’s death.

The protests that have arisen in response to the (lack of) charges are not only about what is seen by many as a miscarriage of justice. They are also about the mistreatment of Black women throughout American history, beginning with the physical and sexual abuse of female slaves by white slaveowners and continuing to this day. Black women are more likely to be abused by their intimate partners than women in other racial groups. They are also at significantly higher risk of being raped or murdered. To that point, Taylor’s residence was targeted by police not because they believed she was involved in illegal activities but because her ex-boyfriend was suspected of selling drugs.

The societal mistreatment of Black women also exists in more subtle, pernicious ways. A 2019 research study conducted by Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality explored how Black girls aged 5-19 experience “adultification bias”, i.e. the tendency to see them as more sexually experienced and less in need of nurturing than White girls. This bias was linked to harsher disciplinary methods taken against Black girls by schools. The perception of Black women as being more sexual than their white counterparts continues into adulthood, as the historical stereotype of the black Jezebel demonstrates.

Black women are also more likely be seen as loud and prone to emasculating anger—the Angry Black Woman stereotype. Both of these stereotypes are exemplified by the treatment of Meghan Markle, the mixed race American woman who married Prince Harry in 2018. Among other instances, Markle has been described by media outlets as having “exotic DNA” and “(almost) straight outta Compton”. This racially based mistreatment has continued since she and her husband exited the monarchy. After Markle and Prince Harry released a video earlier this week encouraging Americans to vote, President Trump said at a White House press briefing: “I’m not a fan of [Markle’s]. . . . I would say this – and she probably has heard that – I wish a lot of luck to Harry, because he’s going to need it.” This is a clear reference to the emasculating effect Black women supposedly have on the men in their lives.

Much of this can be tied to intersectionality, a term coined by lawyer (and creator of the #SayHerName online movement) Kimbelé Crenshaw in 1989 to describe how Black women experience both racial and gender-based inequality. In a 2017 interview, Crenshaw described intersectionality as “a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects.” Looking at how Black women are oppressed—through their intimate relationships, their sexuality, and the perception that they do not conform to the supposed norm of a quiet, calm woman—one can see how both their gender and their race play significant roles.

The following is a list of resources available through UT Libraries on the experiences of Black women, intersectionality, and the role of protests in advancing racial justice. The vast majority of these works were written by Black female authors.

Resources

Black Women Authors and Experiences

Cooper, B., Morris, S., & Boylorn, R. (2017). The Crunk Feminist Collection. The Feminist Press.

This is a collection of essays that appeared in The Crunk Feminist Collective, an online group that aims to create a “space of support and camaraderie for hip hop generation feminists of color, queer and straight, in the academy and without.”

Gay, R. (2014). Bad Feminist : Essays. Harper Perennial.

Gay’s 2014 widely praised collection of essays approaches pop culture through a Black feminist lens.

hooks, b. (1989). Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black. Routledge.

In this seminal work, hooks explores what it means to “talk back” to oppressive authority as an equal.

Taylor, K., Smith, B., Smith, B., Frazier, D., Garza, A., & Ransby, B. (eds) (2017). How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective. Haymarket Books.

The Combahee River Collective, which was active from 1974 to 1980, was a group of queer Black feminists who sought to empower Black feminism as something that was separate from the (often racist) mainstream feminist movement. Their 1977 statement of beliefs can be found here.

Tinsley, O. (2019). Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism. University of Texas Press.

In her memoir, UT Professor Omise’eke Tinsley traces her experiences as a Black woman in America through the lens of Beyonce’s 2016 album Lemonade.

Intersectionality

 Davis, A. (2017). Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement. Haymarket Books.

World-renowned scholar Angela Davis traces the commonalities and differences in the experience of oppression throughout history across the world.

Eric-Udorie, J. (ed.) (2018). Can We All Be Feminists?: New Writing from Brit Bennett, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and 15 Others on Intersectionality, Identity, and the Way Forward for Feminism. Penguin Publishing Group.

This recent collection of essays by some of the top voices in feminist scholarship looks at the role of intersectionality in twenty-first century American culture.

Nash, J. (2020). Black Feminism Reimagined: After Intersectionality. Duke University Press.

Nash critiques how intersectionality has been coopted and altered by shifting norms in feminist scholarship.

Protests

 Cobbina, J. (2020). Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Why the Protests in Ferguson and Baltimore Matter, and How They Changed America. New York University Press.

Cobbina interviewed over two hundred residents in Ferguson and Baltimore in order to place their individual experiences of the protests (and of the events that led to the unrest) within the broader context of American culture.

Ward, J. (ed.) (2017). The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race. Scribner.

Jesmyn Ward edited this book of essays about how the themes and ideas in James Baldwin’s famous 1963 book apply to today’s world.

Color Blind Casting and Recognizing Race

title cover of Me and White Supremacy by Layla SaadIn today’s Me and White Supremacy challenge, Layla Saad explains how “color blindness” is a form of racism. Describing how white adults would tell their children not to call her Black when she was young, she says, “It often left me wondering, was Black synonymous with bad? Was my skin color a source of shame? And if so, was I expected to act as if I were not Black to make white people more comfortable around me?” (78)

The role race plays in identity has had an especially potent effect on recent movies, TV shows, and theatre as more productions attempt to cast people of diverse backgrounds in roles traditionally performed by white actors. This is often referred to as color blind casting, and it is fueled by the belief that simply replacing a white actor with a Black (or Asian or Latino, etc.) person can be done without any effect on the production itself. It is seen by some as progressive. However, while diversity onscreen is important, many artists have pointed out that pretending Blackness does not exist is not the way to ensure racial equity.

Black American playwright August Wilson pushed back strongly against colorblind casting in 1996 when he addressed the state of theater at the Theatre Communications Group national conference:

The idea of colorblind casting is the same idea of assimilation that black Americans have been rejecting for the past 380 years. . . . In an effort to spare us the burden of being “affected by an undesirable condition” and as a gesture of benevolence, many whites (like the proponents of colorblind casting) say, “Oh, I don’t see color.” We want you to see us.

Wilson argued that casting Black actors in canonical plays like Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman perpetuates the idea that only white voices and white stories matter. Instead, non-white artists need the spaces and budgets to tell their own stories.

Likewise, the Black Canadian playwright and actor Omari Newton described color blind casting as “an insidious and absurd form of racism” in an article discussing a 2019 production of All My Sons (coincidentally, also by Arthur Miller) in which two of the key roles were played by Black actors. This casting choice “pulled” Newton out of the story. He says:

Colour blind casting. . . is the theatrical equivalent of ignorantly telling your Black friend “I don’t see colour” when they try to engage you in a conversation about race. It is passively dehumanizing in the way that it dismisses the racism that is embedded in the very fabric of how colonized countries were founded.

Instead, Newton encourages casting directors to utilize “colour conscious casting.” This enables non-white actors to obtain roles in major productions while also ensuring thoughtful recognition of what it means for an actor of color to play certain roles.

Movie still of Ango-Indian actor Dev Patel as David Copperfield, wearing a tall hat standing in front of a Union Jack

One example of this was the casting of Anglo-Indian actor Dev Patel as the (canonically white) titular character in Armando Iannucci’s 2019 adaption of Charles Dickens’ The Personal History of David Copperfield. Iannucci chose Patel both because of Patel’s skill and because he wanted “the cast to be much more representative of what London looks like now.” Likewise, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway juggernaut Hamilton famously cast non-white actors as the (white) Founding Fathers and utilized music genres like hip-hop and jazz that were created by Black Americans.

Nevertheless, this approach is also controversial. While Miranda’s creative approach highlights the music, appearance, and dialect of non-white Americans, there is also a danger that it obscures the fact that America’s Founding Fathers were white men, many of whom owned slaves. In a 2020 interview with The Root, Leslie Odom Jr, the Black actor who played Aaron Burr in the original Broadway run, addressed this controversy by placing the musical in a historical context. He argued:

This isn’t the end of the conversation; it is the beginning. . . . Lin [Manuel-Miranda] ran his leg of the race. This was the story Lin wanted to tell. Now it’s up to you to tell the next story. There’s no doubt in my mind that someday someone is going to write the show that makes Hamilton look quaint.

Picture of Hamilton cast, featuring Leslie Odom Jr, Phillipa Soo, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Christopher JacksonThe creative and entertainment industries are strengthened by the inclusion of non-white artists because they bring new stories to the screen and stage. Attempting to perform inclusivity by slotting non-white actors into traditionally white roles without any recognition of the changes this brings to a production is a way of silencing those stories and thus a form of racism.

For more information about researching film, check out the guides for Radio, Television, and Film and Film & Video Resources. The UT Libraries also subscribes to Kanopy, a streaming service featuring classic, independent, and world cinema as well as documentaries. For more information about researching race in America, check out the guides for African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Latin@ Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. And make sure to follow along with the remaining twenty days of The 28 Day Challenge, sponsored by LSC and DAC!

The Complex Role of Protests in America

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by three Minneapolis police officers. His death was the latest in a long line of black people dying at the hands of police, including the late-night shooting death of EMT Breonna Taylor by Louisville police in her own apartment and the death of Mike Ramos, an unarmed man of black and Latinx descent, by Austin police on April 24, 2020. For many, it was also reminiscent of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in February, who was chased and shot by two white men while jogging near his home. While Arbery was not killed by police officers, it was a harsh reminder that the possibility of racially motivated violence against people of color is always present in American society.

Since late May, protests in response to police brutality against people of color and other acts of racist violence have spread across the country. Many of the protests have been guided by the principles of non-violence as set down by Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and other civil rights leaders. At a virtual town hall organized by the organization My Brother’s Keeper, former President Barack Obama both decried the police violence that led to Floyd’s death and also called upon protesters to remain peaceful.

However, in some places there has also been violence, including rioting and looting either by protesters or by other parties. Determining where a protest ends and a riot begins (if there even is a clear distinction) is difficult. Some scholars even argue that a certain degree of violence is an inevitable part of American protesting. After all, one of the most famous protests in American history– the Boston Tea Party– was an act of material destruction.

Likewise, the act of rioting has been construed by some as a means of last resort when all other avenues of change, including voting and peaceful protests, have failed. In a recent interview, Rep. Maxine Waters described the riots in California in 1992 as “an explosion of a hopelessness being played out” and went on to compare the 1992 riots to the current situation. While she points out several similarities between the two periods of unrest, including the lack of trust in the police, she also sees an important difference between them—specifically that in the recent protests there have been many white people joining black people in calling out for racial equity. In her words: “That’s telling us something — that it’s not only black people fed up with the police Establishment.”

Using the resources listed here, we invite you to explore the complex role protests play in American politics with a special emphasis on the ongoing struggle for racial equality. In future blog posts, we will discuss less frequently recognized events of racial violence in American history and the tradition of LGBTQ+ activism (including the Stonewall Riots of 1969).

Please note: All annotations have been taken from the resource itself.

Books

Gottheimer, J., ed. (2003). Ripples of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches. Link.

Including a never-before published speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., this is the first compilation of its kind, bringing together the most influential and important voices from two hundred years of America’s struggle for civil rights, including essential speeches from leaders, both famous and obscure. With voices as diverse as Cesar Chavez, Harvey Milk, Betty Friedan, Frederick Douglass, and Sojourner Truth, this anthology constitutes a unique chronicle of the nation’s civil rights movements and the critical issues they’ve tackled, from slavery and suffrage to immigration and affirmative action. This is an indispensable compilation of the words –the ripples of hope–that, collectively, have changed American history.

Cover of How To Read a Protest by L.A. Kauffman
Cover of How To Read a Protest by L.A. Kauffman

Kauffman, L. (2018). How to Read a Protest: The Art of Organizing and Resistance. https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520972209

In this original and richly illustrated account, organizer and journalist L.A. Kauffman delves into the history of America’s major demonstrations, beginning with the legendary 1963 March on Washington, to reveal the ways protests work and how their character has shifted over time. Using the signs that demonstrators carry as clues to how protests are organized, Kauffman explores the nuanced relationship between the way movements are made and the impact they have. How to Read a Protest sheds new light on the catalytic power of collective action and the decentralized, bottom-up, women-led model for organizing that has transformed what movements look like and what they can accomplish.
Streitmatter, R. (2001). Voices of Revolution: The Dissident Press in America. https://doi.org/10.7312/stre12248
Streitmatter tells the stories of dissident American publications and press movements of the last two centuries, and of the colorful individuals behind them. From publications that fought for the disenfranchised to those that promoted social reform, Voices of Revolution examines the abolitionist and labor press, black power publications of the 1960s, the crusade against the barbarism of lynching, the women’s movement, and antiwar journals. Streitmatter also discusses gay and lesbian publications, contemporary on-line journals, and counterculture papers like The Kudzu and The Berkeley Barb that flourished in the 1960s.
Tufekci, Z. (2017). Twitter and Tear Gas : The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. Link.
An incisive observer, writer, and participant in today’s social movements, Zeynep Tufekci explains in this accessible and compelling book the nuanced trajectories of modern protests—how they form, how they operate differently from past protests, and why they have difficulty persisting in their long-term quests for change. Tufekci speaks from direct experience, combining on-the-ground interviews with insightful analysis. . . . These details from life inside social movements complete a moving investigation of authority, technology, and culture—and offer essential insights into the future of governance.

Films

Peck, R., & Brown, J. (2016). I Am Not Your Negro. Documentary available on Kanopy. E-book available through UT Libraries.

Cover of I Am Not Your Negro documentary
I Am Not Your Negro documentary, a continuation of a book envisioned by Civil Rights activist James Baldwin

An Oscar-nominated documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO explores the continued peril America faces from institutionalized racism. In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends–Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material.

Speeches and Music

Seale, B., & Educational Video Group. (1973). Bobby Seale : Speech on Black Panthers Movement. Link.

This is a video of Bobby Seale giving a speech about the values of the Black Panther Party.
Duration: 3 min.
Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs, 1960-1966. (1997). Link.
These 43 tracks are a series of musical images, of a people in conversation about their determination to be free. Many of the songs were recorded live in mass meetings held in churches, where people from different life experiences, predominantly black, with a few white supporters, came together in a common struggle. These freedom songs draw from spirituals, gospel, rhythm and blues, football chants, blues and calypso forms.

Online Resources and Newspaper Articles

Jackson, K.C. (1 June 2020). “The Double Standard of the American Riot.” The Atlantic. Link.

“Today, peaceful demonstrations and violent riots alike have erupted across the country in response to police brutality and the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Yet the language used to refer to protesters has included lootersthugs, and even claims that they are un-American. The philosophy of force and violence to obtain freedom has long been employed by white people and explicitly denied to black Americans.”

Hannah-Jones, N., et al. The 1619 Project. The New York Times Magazine. Link.

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.

Texas After Violence Project (part of the UT Libraries Human Rights Documentations Initiative) Link.

In 2009, the Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) partnered with the independent, Austin-based nonprofit organization, Texas After Violence Project (TAVP), a human rights and restorative justice project that studies the effects of interpersonal and state violence on individuals, families, and communities. Its mission is to build a digital archive that serves as a resource for community dialogue and public policy to promote alternative, nonviolent ways to prevent and respond to violence. The HRDI is working with TAVP to ensure the long-term preservation and access of its digital video testimonies, transcripts and organizational records.

Juneteenth: Celebrating Liberation

By Roxanne Bogucka

Juneteenth (variously called Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, or Cel-Liberation Day) is a holiday that commemorates the date when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the enslaved black people in Texas. “Juneteenth” is a portmanteau word formed from “June” and “nineteenth.”

Image of printing of General Orders 3

Although the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863, enslaved Texans were not apprised of this fact until Union Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston, on June 19, 1865 (Acosta, 2020). While the text of General Order No. 3 announced that “all slaves are free,” it also stated that “Freedmen are advised to remain in their present homes, and work for wages.”

In Austin, freed persons organized the first Emancipation Day celebrations in what is now Eastwoods Park, just north of present-day Dean Keeton Boulevard (Hasan, 2017). Photographs of Austin’s Juneteenth observances in 1900, taken by a Mrs. Grace Stephenson, including this one of celebrants, are available in The Portal to Texas History. According to the Portal metadata, Mrs. Stephenson later sold her photos, along with a report of the day’s festivities, to the San Francisco Chronicle. A search for the article in America’s Historical Newspapers was unsuccessful. A reference staffer from the San Francisco Public Library replied that SFPL is unable to respond to these kinds of reference questions at the moment.

Image of a page of the Parsons Weekly Blade published on June 22, 1895
Click to enlarge

As freed persons dispersed from Texas, they carried with them the tradition of celebrating emancipation on June 19th. The database African American Newspapers, Series 1 has several articles about communities’ Juneteenth celebrations. The earliest reportage was published in the Parsons (KS) Weekly Blade, in 1895.

 

Enlarged images of Juneteenth coverage in the Parson’s Weekly Blade from June 22, 1895

Cropped and enlarged version of the Juneteenth coverage in the Parsons Weekly Blade from June 22, 1895

 

 

 

Cropped and enlarged version of the Juneteenth coverage in the Parsons Weekly Blade from June 22, 1895

In 1979, Texas State Representative Al Edwards (D-Houston) introduced House Bill 1016, legislation that led to Texas becoming the first of these United States to declare Juneteenth an official holiday. Today, Juneteenth is an official holiday or observance in 46 states and the District of Columbia (National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, n.d.). While not observed by the University of Texas, Juneteenth (Emancipation Day) is an official public holiday in the state of Texas. Do not get too excited by this, as the state of Texas also lists Confederate Heroes Day on its official calendar of holidays (Texas State Auditor’s Office).

The United Kingdom, which abolished the slave trade in 1807, and passed the Slavery Abolition Act nearly 30 years before the United States, has a related observance on 18 October—Anti-Slavery Day, whose unfortunate name raises inescapable questions about the other days of the year.

Image of Stay Black And Live promotional materialThis year, with parades and gatherings being deemed unwise, Austin celebrates Juneteenth virtually. Stay Black and Live will be held online from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020. There will almost certainly be a performance of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” also called the Black National Anthem. Learn the words, learn the tune, raise your voices in song on Friday, and raise your voices in citizenship every day.

Selected Resources from the UT Libraries

Works Consulted / Additional Reading

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!

This month we recognize the cultures and histories of Asian and Pacific Americans, as well as the contributions they have made to American society. May was chosen as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in part because the Transcontinental Railroad, which was largely built by Asian immigrant laborers and had a huge impact on the American economy, was completed on May 10, 1869. While unfortunately most in-person events have been postponed to allow for safe social distancing practices, this year it is particularly important to recognize the importance of Asian, Pacific American, and Asian American communities to help combat the racist and xenophobic beliefs that have led to a rise in racist attacks on people of Asian descent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some useful resources for celebrating these unique cultures.

 

  • The Library of Congress website also has a helpful explanation of the series of executive orders that led to the official designation of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in 1991.

 

Hakone Estate and Gardens (California) Photo by doopokko, CC BY-SA 2.0
Hakone Estate and Gardens (California)
Photo by doopokko, CC BY-SA 2.0
  •  APALA (the Asian Pacific American Library Association) does not have any events planned for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this year but has been very active in addressing the rise in racist and xenophobic attacks on Asians and Asian Americans since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their Facebook page is regularly updated with information about how to get involved.

 

  • For those in the UT community interested in researching Asian American history and culture, the UT Libraries’ liaison librarian to Asian American Studies, PG Moreno, has created a research guide about access to relevant academic resources.

 

As the curators of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s Care Package write In the introduction to the collection:

While this body of work may not hold the solutions for everything, we hope that it helps you find some calm amidst the chaos.

Celebrating César Chávez Day!

By Gilbert Borrego

photo portrait of Cesar ChavezCésar Chávez was a tireless activist whose devotion to the cause of farm workers contributed to the ongoing fight for workers’ rights today. As a first generation American who toiled as a migrant worker when he was young, he had specific insight into the racist and classist system that farm laborers were forced to endure in the mid-twentieth century. In order to escape this unjust system, he joined the United State Navy before eventually returning to his roots and beginning his journey as a labor organizer in order to address the poverty and inequalities he experienced and observed.

In 1962, he and the iconic Dolores Huerta co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). They partnered with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) to organize what turned out to be a five-year strike against California grape growers. This strike led to many workers obtaining a contract from the grape producers which addressed wages and humane working conditions for the workers. When the NFWA and the AWOC joined together to form the United Farm Workers (UFW) in 1972, Chávez had a strong, organized platform to fight for the rights of farm workers everywhere, leading nonviolent strikes, marches, boycotts, and fasting until his death in 1993.

In 1994,  César Chávez posthumously received the country’s highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom, and in 2014, President Barack Obama declared his birthday (March 31st) a federal holiday.

 

Books:

cover of the book The Crusades of Cesar Chavez by Miriam PawelThe Crusades of César Chávez: by Miriam Pawel

“A searching portrait of an iconic figure long shrouded in myth by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of an acclaimed history of Chávez’s movement. César Chávez founded a labor union, launched a movement, and inspired a generation. He rose from migrant worker to national icon, becoming one of the great charismatic leaders of the 20th century. Two decades after his death, Chávez remains the most significant Latino leader in US history. Yet his life story has been told only in hagiography―until now.”

Union of Their Dreams by Miriam Pawel

“A generation of Americans came of age boycotting grapes, swept up in a movement that vanquished California’s most powerful industry and won dignity and contracts for impoverished farm workers. Four decades later, United Farm Workers leader César Chávez’s likeness graces postage stamps, and schools and streets are renamed in his honor. But the real stories behind la causa–both its historic accomplishments and tragic disintegration–have remained buried. Pulitzer-winning journalist Miriam Pawel has changed our understanding of the UFW forever, crafting a powerful, poignant account of a movement and the people who made it. A tour de force of reporting and a spellbinding narrative, The Union of Their Dreams is a major contribution to the history of labor, civil rights, and immigration in modern America.”

An Organizer’s Tale: Speeches by César Chávez

“One of the most important civil rights leaders in American history, César Chávez was a firm believer in the principles of nonviolence, and he effectively employed peaceful tactics to further his cause. Through his efforts, he helped achieve dignity, fair wages, benefits, and humane working conditions for hundreds of thousands of farm workers. This extensive collection of Chávez’s speeches and writings chronicles his progression and development as a leader, and includes previously unpublished material. From speeches to spread the word of the Delano Grape Strike to testimony before the House of Representatives about the hazards of pesticides, Chávez communicated in clear, direct language and motivated people everywhere with an unflagging commitment to his ideals.”

The Fight in the Fields: César Chávez and the Farmworkers Movement by Susan Ferriss and Ricardo Sandoval.

“A “vivid, well-documented account of the farm workers movement” (Philadelphia Inquirer) and its prime mover, César Chávez.”

compilation of images showing Cesar Chavez present and taking part in activist marchesEncyclopedia of César Chávez: The Farm Workers’ Fight for Rights and Justice by Roger Bruns

“This book is a unique, single-volume treatment offering original source material on the life, accomplishments, disappointments, and lasting legacy of one of American history’s most celebrated social reformers―César Chávez.”

Comics and Graphic Novels:

Harvesting Hope: The Story of César Chávez by Kathleen Krull and Yuyi Morales

“César Chávez is known as one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders. When he led a 340-mile peaceful protest march through California, he ignited a cause and improved the lives of thousands of migrant farmworkers. But César wasn’t always a leader. As a boy, he was shy and teased at school. His family slaved in the fields for barely enough money to survive. César knew things had to change, and he thought that–maybe–he could help change them. So he took charge. He spoke up. And an entire country listened.”

cover of the book Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez

A Picture Book of César Chávez by David A. Adler, Michael S. Adler, and Marie Olofsdotter

“César Chávez dedicated his life to helping American farmworkers. As a child growing up in California during the Great Depression, he picked produce with his family. César saw firsthand how unfairly workers were treated. As an adult, he organized farmworkers into unions and argued for better pay and fair working conditions. He was jailed for his efforts, but he never stopped urging people to stand up for their rights. Young readers will be inspired by the fascinating life story of this champion of social justice.”

Who was César Chávez? by Dana Meachen Rau and Ted Hammond

“A biography telling the life of labor leader César Chávez and the boycotts that he led to gain fair working conditions for farmworkers. Written in graphic-novel format.”

Video:

The Fight in the Fields: César Chávez and the Farmworkers’ Struggle by Ray Telles and Rick Tejada-Flores

“The story of César Chávez, the charismatic founder of the United Farmworkers Union and the movement that he inspired – a movement that touched the hearts of millions of Americans with the grape and lettuce boycotts, a non-violent movement that confronted conservative politicians like Ronald Reagan and the powerful Teamsters Union.”

cover of film about Cesar ChavezCésar Chávez directed by Diego Luna

“The story of the famed civil rights leader and labor organizer torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to securing a living wage for farm workers. Chávez embraced non-violence as he battled greed and prejudice in his struggle to bring dignity to people. He inspired millions of Americans who never worked on a farm to fight for social justice. His triumphant journey is a remarkable testament to the power of one individual’s ability to change the world.”

From Awareness to Action: The Importance of Queer and Trans Migrant Activism

This year the UT Libraries Diversity Action Committee (DAC) is proud to present Dr. Karma Chavez of UT’s Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies as the keynote speaker at our spring event, From Awareness to Action: The Importance of Queer and Trans Migrant Activism. Karma will discuss the immigration activist movement, intersections that complicate immigrant experiences, and the importance of the inclusion of queer and trans activism in the movement. Her talk is entitled “#AbolishICE: The Importance of Queer and Trans Migrant Activism.”

Dr. Chavez’s Description of Her Keynote

“Numerous trans and queer migrant organizations and projects with radical politics have formed in the past few years, and they have become key actors on the national immigration stage. Such groups include the Black LGBTQ+ Immigrants Project (of the Transgender Law Center), Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (of the Center for Transformative Action), and Trans Queer Pueblo.

These groups organize around issues such as reclaiming the anti-police ethos of Stonewall, supporting detained people during and after their incarceration, building liberation for trans Latinx migrants, and challenging the criminalization and marginalization of black queer and trans migrants. Moreover, these and other poor and working class, queer and trans migrants of color within diffuse organizations have been central in pushing the mainstream movement, or that which can be characterized as being dominated by mestiza/o Latinx organizations and points of view, including privileging traditional heteronormative family values, the church, hard work, and a distancing from being “criminal.”

Increasingly, and because of the work of queer and trans migrant activists, the mainstream part of the movement is being pushed beyond its traditionally assimilationist aspirations toward demands for #Not1More deportation, and even to #AbolishICE.”

Intersectionality and Its Effects on Migrants

The race, gender, and sexuality of migrants intersect to influence how they are treated both at the border and after they have established themselves in the United States. The term “intersectionality” was coined by legal scholar and critical race theorist Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989 to describe the ways in which black women experienced both racism as people of color and misogyny as women. In her landmark paper, Crenshaw was specifically addressing court cases in which issues were seen as either racial discrimination or sex discrimination but not both. In the thirty-one years since her article’s publication, discussions of intersectionality have grown to encompass issues of sexuality, economic class, and other ways in which people can be marginalized. In Crenshaw’s own words: “Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects.”

The way in which immigrants are depicted demonstrates the lens through which popular culture prefers to see those seeking to cross the border into the United States. Mainstream immigration activists tend to circulate images that show a certain type of immigrant: a mother trying to protect her children, a man wearing a Christian cross, and other images centering on family and religion. These images resonate with many people because they fit with the cis-centric, heteronormative, essentialist cultural perceptions concerning those who “deserve” aid. They ignore the presence and compounded struggles of queer and trans migrants; rather, they present all immigrants as members of a Christian nuclear family unit composed of a (cis-male) father and (cis-female) mother. This serves to erase the existence and struggles of immigrants who are queer, non-binary, or transgender.

The treatment of LGBTQ+ immigrants has led to the rise of activist movements that seek to address the ways in which these individuals experience both immigration injustice and anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry. These movements seek to resist the assimilationist tendencies of mainstream immigration activism and push for recognition of their own unique status as LGBTQ+ immigrants. One such group, #Not1More Deportationexplains:

In recent years, the terms of the immigration debate have been poisoned and a crisis created as deportations, incarceration, and criminalization of immigrant communities has escalated at unprecedented rates. But at the same time record numbers of people are refusing to be victims and instead are drawing an entirely different picture by taking a stand for themselves, for their families, for our communities, and for all of us.

Likewise, the movement to #AbolishICE has gained momentum over the last few years both online and with elected officials.

Tweet by Ilhan Omar stating: ICE exists to dehumanize, deport, and destroy the lives of Black and brown people. As long as it’s in operation, we can’t restore dignity to the immigration process. #AbolishICE

We hope you will join us next Wednesday to listen to Dr. Chavez talk about her research on these complicated issues! Her keynote address will be followed by a Q&A. We will then have an opt-in activity (in partnership with Diversidad Sin Fronteras Texas) in which participants will have the opportunity to write letters of support and love to asylum-seeking trans women currently in detention.

Activism and Migration Groups (*please note: we have chosen to copy the terminology used by each of these groups to describe the groups with whom they work. For more information see the LGBTQ Encyclopedia on the DAC Blog*)

Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project

One of the programs hosted by the Transgender Law Center, BLMP seeks to support Black LGTQIA+ migrants through “community-building, political education, creating access to direct services, and organizing across borders.” They also seek to address the systemic issues that lead to the unjust treatment of migrants.

Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement

Familia: TQLM is an advocacy group for “all LGBTQ Latinos, Latinas, and gender nonconforming individuals.” In partnership with non-LGBTQ allies, they work to unite the LGBTQ Latino and Latina community.

Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

QDEP supports queer individuals in immigration detention, works to help them build a life after being detained, and organizes efforts to fight against the negative treatment of LGBTQIA, transsexual, and gender non-conforming by the state.

Trans Queer Pueblo

 Located in Arizona, Trans Queer Pueblo seeks to support members of the LGBTQ+ migrant community of color through advocating for movements that lead to self-sufficiency.

 Bibliography

Burridge, A., Mitchelson, M., & Loyd, J. (2012). Beyond walls and cages: Prisons, borders, and global crisis. University of Georgia Press. Available here.

Chávez, K.R. (2017). Homonormativity and violence against immigrants. QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking 4(2), 131-136. Available here.

—. (2013). Queer migration politics: Activist rhetoric and coalitional possibilities. University of Illinois Press.

—. (2017). Queer migration politics as transnational activism. S&F Online. Available here.

— & Griffin, C.L. (Eds.) (2012).  Standing in the intersection: Feminist voices, feminist practices in communication studies. SUNY Press.

Coaston, J. (2019). The intersectionality wars. Vox. Available here

Costanza-Chock, S. (2014). Out of the shadows, into the streets! Transmedia organizing and the immigrant rights movement. The MIT Press.

Crenshaw, K. (1989) Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1(8), 139-167. Available here.

Davis, K., & Evans, M. (Eds). (2016). Transatlantic conversations : feminism as traveling theory. Routledge. Available here.

Dechaine, D. (2012). Border rhetorics: Citizenship and identity on the US-Mexico frontier. University of Alabama Press.

Foust, C.R., Pason, A., & Rogness, K.Z. (Eds.) (2017). What democracy looks like: The rhetoric of social movements and counterpublics. The University of Alabama Press.

Godfrey, E. (2018). What ‘Abolish ICE’ actually means. The Atlantic. Available here.

Haritaworn, J., Kuntsman, A., & Posocco, S. (Eds). (2013). Queer necropolitics. ProQuest Ebooks. Routledge. Available here.

Jordan, S. (2009). Un/convention(al) refugees: contextualizing the accounts of refugees facing homophobic or transphobic persecution. Refuge, 26(2), 165–182.

Levinson-Waldman, R. (2018). The Abolish ICE movement explained. Brennan Center for Justice. Available here.

Luibheid, E., & Cantu, L. (Eds). (2005). Queer migrations: Sexuality, U.S. citizenship, and border crossings. University of Minnesota Press.

Kimberlé Crenshaw on intersectionality, more than two decades later. (2017). Columbia Law School [blog]. Available here.

Kingston, L.N. (2019). Fully human: Personhood, citizenship, and rights. Oxford University Press.

McKinnon, S.L., Asen, R., Chavez, K.R, & Howard, R.G. (Eds.). (2016). Text + field: Innovations in rhetorical method. The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Nyers, P., & Rygiel, K. (Eds). (2012). Citizenship, migrant activism, and the politics of movement. Routledge.

Sycamore, M.B. (Ed). (2008) That’s revolting! Queer strategies for resisting assimilation. Soft Skull Press.

Vaid, U. (2012). Irresistible revolution: Confronting race, class and the assumptions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender politics. Magnus Books.

Viteri, M. (2014). Desbordes: Translating racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender identities across the Americas. SUNY Press.

Censorship at the National Archives

By Bree’ya Brown and DAC Committee Members

Last month, library Twitter, as well as other information professions and their platforms, was taken over by news and debates surrounding a controversial decision by the National Archives and Records Administration to alter photographs of the 2017 Women’s March in a public exhibit. In this blog post, we’d like to talk a little bit more about why this conversation is important and why it has so many information professionals speaking out against the decision.

The National Archives and Records Administration

To start with, it is helpful to know a little more about the purpose of the National Archives. The National Archives was established in 1934 as an independent agency of the U.S. federal government. It employs historians, librarians, and archivists to manage and preserve an unbiased record of public and government actions. The records held in the National Archives are accessible to anyone onsite and also can be viewed on the institution’s online catalog. Many of the most famous documents in American history, such as a copy of the Declaration of Independence, are on display in the National Archives Museum, also in D.C.

The National Archives’ stated mission is to provide public access to government records. This enables Americans to understand the country’s history as well as hold their government accountable. In fact, the stated values of the archives include providing information that can “transform the American public’s relationship with their government.”

The Controversial Act

The current controversy began on January 17, 2020 when The Washington Post published an article stating that the National Archives censored images displayed in an exhibit entitled Rightfully Hers. The exhibit, which was open to the public, juxtaposed two photographs taken almost a hundred years apart. The first photograph displayed a 1913 women’s suffrage march in Philadelphia. The second photograph showed an image of the 2017 Women’s March in Washington D.C. In the Washington Post article, journalist Joe Heim noted that portions of the 2017 photograph had been deliberately obscured, reporting:

In the original version of the 2017 photograph, taken by Getty Images photographer Mario Tama, the street is packed with marchers carrying a variety of signs, with the Capitol in the background. In the Archives version, at least four of those signs are altered.

The altered signs blurred out the name Trump in phrases such as “God Hates Trump,” and “Trump & God – Hands off Women,” preventing viewers from viewing the full historical document. In addition to the concealment of Trump’s name, words associated with the female anatomy like “pussy” and “vagina” were also hidden by the federal agency. The day after The Washington Post published the article online about the exhibit, the National Archives took down the controversial display.

The National Archives’ Response

Shortly after taking down the exhibit, the National Archives released a series of tweets apologizing for the decision to alter the image.

The institution stated that the 2017 photo was not one of their archival records but instead one they had licensed as a promotional image. Nevertheless, it was the National Archives’ decision to alter the image, not the owner of the photograph. The current Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, went on to write on the National Archive’s blog:

We wanted to use the 2017 Women’s March image to connect the suffrage exhibit with relevant issues today. We also wanted to avoid accusations of partisanship or complaints that we displayed inappropriate language in a family-friendly Federal museum. With those concerns in mind, and because the image was not our archival records, but was commercially-licensed and used as a graphic component outside of the gallery space, we felt this was an acceptable and prudent choice.

“Unacceptable Erasure”

In response to the National Archives’ initial decision, the American Library Association commented:

It is a fundamental tenet of librarianship that any alteration, deletion, or editing of materials held by a library or archives because of a fear of controversy or because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval is an act of censorship that all information workers are called upon to resist. Removal or alteration of archival materials, if done to conceal truthful material about past persons or events, constitutes an unacceptable erasure of the historical record that impairs our ability to provide accountability for the past, change the future, and acknowledge the truth of our different perspectives and experiences.

Obscuring archival documents not only violates the ALA Library Bill of Rights and Expurgation of Library Resources, but also results in historical erasure, breeds a loss of credibility with the public, and disassociates the institution from democratic values that focus on freedom of assembly and speech.

The unaltered photograph provided historical evidence of women’s existence, voices, and perspectives. Though the National Archives intended to connect recent events with the historical trajectory of the Women’s Rights Movement, the blurring of any part of the image erases part of the story and, in doing so, obscures the voices and perspectives of the women involved in the 2017 march.

Moreover, the alteration went against the National Archives’ purpose of reflecting history in a non-partisan, non-biased way. Alteration of a historical document is by nature a biased and biasing act.

Preserving records and managing access to public and government documents requires commitment and integrity. In the words of ALA Bill of Rights (Article II):

Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

Why This Matters

The alteration of the image prevented the public from seeing history as it actually occurred. Historians, archivists, curators, and librarians have a responsibility to preserve history and peoples’ stories while upholding the value of documents and artifacts by protecting their authenticity.

As you can imagine, voices on twitter had much to say on the matter, including this thread by historian and history professor Karin Wulf.

Reading Recommendations: Chosen Family

By Brenna Wheeler

It’s December, and that means holiday season. This time of the year can come with so many different feelings and experiences. As the fall and winter holidays arrive, many LGBTQIA+ members of our community are returning home to families who either don’t know or don’t accept aspects of their identities. Others may not even have that option. For many in this community, chosen family provides the acceptance their biological families may not. With this in mind, the DAC blog has put together a reading list with LGBTQIA+ authors and characters to keep you company during this season and share their own experiences with family, love, and acceptance.

I just need a novel to read

  1. Image of Book Cover for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz“Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.”
  2. Juliet takes a breath by Gabby Rivera
    • “Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole ‘Puerto Rican lesbian’ thing.”
  3. Nevada by Imogen Binnie
    • “Nevada is the darkly comedic story of Maria Griffiths a young trans woman living in New York City and trying to stay true to her punk values while working retail. When she finds out her girlfriend has lied to her, the world she thought she’d carefully built for herself begins to unravel, and Maria sets out on a journey that will most certainly change her forever.”
  4. Image of book cover: Confessions of a maskConfessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima
    • “Confessions of a Mask tells the story of Kochan, an adolescent boy tormented by his burgeoning attraction to men: he wants to be ‘normal.’ To hide his homosexuality, he courts a woman, Sonoko, but this exacerbates his feelings for men. As news of the War reaches Tokyo, Kochan considers the fate of Japan and his place within its deeply rooted propriety.”
  5. Witchmark by C.L. Polk
    • “Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family’s interest or to be committed to a witches’ asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.”
  6. Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
    • “Based on a true story plucked from Highsmith’s own life, Price of Salt tells the riveting drama of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by a gorgeous epiphany–the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy. They fall in love and set out across the United States, ensnared by society’s confines and the imminent disapproval of others, yet propelled by their infatuation.”
  7. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
    • “This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.”
  8. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
    • “Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin’s now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.”Image of book cover: Heiresses of Russ 2016
  9. Heiresses of Russ: The year’s best lesbian speculative fiction.
    • “Heiresses of Russ offers readers in one volume the best lesbian-themed tales of the fantastical, weird and otherworldly, published during the prior year.”
  10. Meanwhile, elsewhere: Science fiction and fantasy from transgender writers edited by Cat Fitzpatrick and Casey Plett
    • “The #1 post-reality generation device approved for home use This manual will prepare you to travel from multiverse to multiverse. No experience is required. Choose from twenty-five preset post-realities. Rejoice at obstacles unquestionably bested and conflicts efficiently resolved.”
  11. Transcendent: the year’s best transgender speculative fiction
  12. Transcendent 2 : the year’s best transgender speculative fiction
    • “This anthology will be a welcome read for those who are ready to transcend gender through the lens of science fiction, fantasy, and other works of imaginative fiction.”

…but with fewer words.

  1. America: the life and times of America Chavez, Volume 1Image of book cover: America Volume 2
  2. America: Fast and fuertona, Volume 2 by Gabby Rivera
    • “In Marvel’s first series centered on an LGBTQIA+ Latinx character, America Chavez is kicking her way through dimensions, battling cults, viruses, and other aliens threatening Earth, all while attending her first college courses.”
  3. Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay
    • “You know them now as the Midnight Angels, but in this story they are just Ayo and Aneka, young women recruited to become Dora Milaje, an elite task force trained to protect the crown of Wakanda at all costs. Their first assignment will be to protect Queen Shuri… but what happens when your nation needs your hearts and minds, but you already gave them to each other?”
  4. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
    • “When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.”
  5. Image of book cover: HeathenHeathen, Volume 1 by Natasha Alterici
    • “Aydis is a viking, a warrior, an outcast, and a self-proclaimed heathen. Aydis is friend to the talking horse Saga, rescuer of the immortal Valkyrie Brynhild, and battler of demons and fantastic monsters. Aydis is a woman. Born into a time of warfare, suffering, and subjugation of women, she is on a mission to end the oppressive reign of the god-king Odin.”
  6. Art & queer culture by Catherine Lord & Richard Meyer.
    • “Art & Queer Culture is a comprehensive and definitive survey of artworks that have constructed, contested, or otherwise responded to alternative forms of sexuality. Rather than focusing exclusively on artists who self-identify as gay or lesbian, Art & Queer Culture instead traces the shifting possibilities and constraints of sexual identity that have provided visual artists with a rich creative resource over the last 130 years – and it does so in an accessible, authoritative voice, and with a wealth of rarely-seen imagery.”

Actually, some poetry really sounds good right now

  1. Image of book cover: NepantlaNepantla: an anthology for queer poets of color edited by Christopher Soto
    • “The first major literary anthology for queer poets of color in the United StatesIn 2014, Christopher Soto and Lambda Literary Foundation founded the online journal Nepantla, with the mission to nurture, celebrate, and preserve diversity within the queer poetry community, including contributions as diverse in style and form, as the experiences of QPOC in the United States.”
  2. The collected poems of Audre Lorde
    • “Collected here for the first time are more than three hundred poems from one of this country’s major and most influential poets, representing the complete oeuvre of Audre Lorde’s poetry. Included here are Lorde’s early, previously unavailable works: The First Cities, The New York Head Shop and Museum, Cables to Rage, and From a Land Where Other People Live.”
  3. When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz – Digital Copy; Physical Copy
    • “This debut collection is a fast-paced tour of Mojave life and family narrative: A sister fights for or against a brother on meth, and everyone from Antigone, Houdini, Huitzilopochtli, and Jesus is invoked and invited to hash it out. These darkly humorous poems illuminate far corners of the heart, revealing teeth, tails, and more than a few dreams.”
  4. Image of book cover: Night Sky with Exit WoundsNight sky with exit wounds by Ocean Vuong
    • “A haunting debut that is simultaneously dreamlike and visceral, vulnerable and redemptive, and risks the painful rewards of emotional honesty.”
  5. Cuicacalli / House of song by Ire’ne Lara Silva
    • “Part song, part grito, part wail, part lullaby, and part hymn, Cuicacalli / House of Song is a multi-vocal exploration of time, place, and history. Song lives within and without the poet’s physical and spiritual experience of body, of desire, of art, of loss, and of grief on an individual and communal level. Cuicacalli / House of Song sings survival, sings indigeneity, sings some part of the tattered world back together.”

I want a memoir or biography of LGBTQIA+ people!

  1. Image of book cover: Looking for LorraineLooking for Lorraine: the radiant and radical life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry
    • “Lorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI surveillance when she was barely in her twenties.” -Amazon Summary
  2. Mama’s boy: a story from our Americas by Dustin Lance Black
    • “Black shares a candid, powerfully resonant memoir about growing up in a military, Mormon household outside San Antonio, Texas. His mother had contracted polio as a small girl, endured leg braces and iron lungs, and was repeatedly told that she could never have children or live a normal life. While Black struggled to come to terms with his sexuality, she remained his source of strength and his guiding light, and years later stood by his side when he helped bring the historic gay marriage case to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
  3. What drowns the flowers in your mouth: a memoir of brotherhood by Rigoberto Gonzalez
    • “Burdened by poverty, illiteracy, and vulnerability as Mexican immigrants to California’s Coachella Valley, three generations of González men turn to vices or withdraw into depression. As brothers Rigoberto and Alex grow to manhood, they are haunted by the traumas of their mother’s early death, their lonely youth, their father’s desertion, and their grandfather’s invective.”
  4. At the broken places: a mother and trans son pick up the pieces by Mary Collins and Donald Collins
    • “In this collaborative memoir, a parent and a transgender son recount wrestling with their differences as Donald Collins undertook medical-treatment options to better align his body with his gender identity. As a parent, Mary Collins didn’t agree with her trans son’s decision to physically alter his body, although she supported his right to realize himself as a person.”
  5. Image of book cover: MarblesMarbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by  Ellen Forney
    • “Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic but terrified that medications would cause her to lose her creativity and livelihood, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability without losing herself or her passion.”
  6. Nîtisânak by Lindsay Nixon
    • “Using a form of generative refusal towards western writing practices, the text works with the idea of kinship that derives from the author’s Plains Cree and other kinship teachings. It also examines how queer kin were some of their first experiences of reciprocal relationality and care.”
  7. Spit and Passion by Cristy C. Road
    • “At twelve years old, Cristy C. Road is struggling to balance tradition in a Cuban Catholic family with her newfound queer identity, and begins a chronic obsession with the punk band Green Day. In this stunning graphic biography, Road renders the clash between her rich inner world of fantasy and the numbing suburban conformity she is surrounded by. “

…or essays about their experiences

  1. Image of book cover: Cuentamelo¡Cuéntamelo! testimonios de inmigrantes latinos LGBT/Cuéntamelo! oral histories by LGBT Latino immigrants by Juliana Delgado Lopera; editado por/edited by Shadia Savo and Santiago Acosta; ilustrado por/illustrations by Laura Cerón Melo
    • “¡Cuéntamelo! Contains the oral history of nine different LGBTQIA+ Latinx immigrants and their experiences.”
  2. Reflections on female and trans* masculinities and other queer crossings edited by Nina Kane and Jude Woods
    • “The book presents many voices exploring themes of female and trans* masculinities, gender equality, and the lives, work and activism of LGBT*IQ artists and thinkers. It includes discussion of arts-making, cultural materials, diverse identities, contemporary queer politics, and social histories, and travels across time telling gender-crossing stories of creative resistance.”
  3. Nobody passes: rejecting the rules of gender and conformity edited by Mattilda, a.k.a. Matt Bernstein Sycamore – Physical Copy; Digital Copy
    • Nobody Passes explores and critiques the various systems of power seen (or not seen) in the act of “passing.” In a pass/fail situation, standards for acceptance may vary, but somebody always gets trampled on. This anthology seeks to eliminate the pressure to pass and thereby unearth the delicious and devastating opportunities for transformation that might create.”
  4. Image of book cover: I am your sister I am your sister: collected and unpublished writings of Audre Lorde edited by Rudolph P. Byrd, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Beverly Guy-Sheftall
    • “Audre Lorde was not only a famous black poet; she was also one of the most important radical black feminists of the past half century. I Am Your Sister collects her non-fiction prose from 1976 to 1990, and it is the first volume to provide a full picture of Lorde’s political work (as opposed to her aesthetic work). The essays cover an impressive variety of topics: sexuality, race, gender, culture, class, parenting, disease, resistance, and power – both within the United States and across the African diaspora.”
  5. Affirmative acts: political essays by June Jordan
    • “Piercingly intuitive, eloquent, and caustic, Affirmative Acts is an address to the social, economic, racial, and political conflicts that mar the otherwise beautiful human experience. In this new collection of political essays, Jordan explores the confusion of an America in the grip of pseudo-multiculturalism and political intolerance.” -Google Books
  6. Black Lesbian in White America by Anita Cornwell
    • “Anita Cornwell (b.1923) is an American lesbian feminist author. Her writings in this book are the first collection of essays by an African-American lesbian. It also includes her interview with Audre Lorde, also a black lesbian.” -Amazon

Honestly, I just want to watch Queer Eye, but I won’t have access to Netflix for a while

  1. Image of book cover: Queer EyeQueer eye: love yourself, love your life by Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk & Karamo Brown
    • “At a cultural moment when we are all craving people to admire, Queer Eye offers hope and acceptance. After you get to know the Fab Five, together they will guide you through five practical chapters that go beyond their designated areas of expertise (food & wine, fashion, grooming, home decor, and culture), touching on topics like wellness, entertaining, and defining your personal brand, and complete with bite-sized Hip Tips for your everyday quandaries. Above all else, Queer Eye aims to help you create a happy and healthy life, rooted in self-love and authenticity.”
  2. Karamo: my story of embracing purpose, healing, and hope by Karamo Brown with Jancee Dunn
    • “An insightful, candid, and inspiring memoir from Karamo Brown–Queer Eye’s beloved culture expert–as he shares his story for the first time, exploring how the challenges in his own life have allowed him to forever transform the lives of those in need.”
  3. Over the top: a raw journey to self-love by Jonathan Van Ness
    • “Over the Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen.”
  4. Image of book cover: Naturally TanNaturally Tan by Tan France with Caroline Donofrio
    • “In this memoir, France illuminates his winding journey of coming of age, finding his voice (and style!), and marrying the love of his life – a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City. He shares the lessons he’s learned about being a successful businessman, a devoted spouse, and the importance of self-acceptance.”
  5. Queer eye for the straight guy: the fab 5’s guide to looking better, cooking better, dressing better, behaving better, and living better by Ted Allen, et al.
    • “Imagine this: Five eminently stylish and hilariously witty gay men — authoritative experts in food and wine, grooming, decorating, fashion, and culture — invade your life, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and, in the course of a day, make you better dressed, better groomed, better mannered, and a better cook, living in a better home.”

Inclusive Reading Recommendations — Graphic Literature

by Laura Tadena

This month’s blog post highlights diversity in graphic literature. It was difficult to narrow down this list to just twenty titles because of the growing number of titles that reflect individuals from underrepresented identity groups. Arguably, the publishing world is still not diverse enough and there is a disparity between the authors telling these stories. I for one, am looking forward to seeing more titles published where readers have the opportunity to see themselves in the work.

Here’s is our Graphic Literature inclusive reading recommendations list.  We hope you enjoy!

  1. A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson
    • “Archie, a snarky genderqueer artist, is tired of people not understanding gender-neutral pronouns. Tristan, a cisgender dude, is looking for an easy way to introduce gender-neutral pronouns to his increasingly diverse workplace. The longtime best friends team up in this short and fun comic guide that explains what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use them. They also include what to do if you make a mistake, and some tips-and-tricks for those who identify outside of the binary to keep themselves safe in this binary-centric world.”
  2. The Arab of the future: a childhood in the Middle East by Riad Sattouf
    • “In striking, virtuoso graphic style that captures both the immediacy of childhood and the fervor of political idealism, Riad Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood growing up in rural France, Gaddafi’s Libya, and Assad’s Syria–but always under the roof of his father, a Syrian Pan-Arabist who drags his family along in his pursuit of grandiose dreams for the Arab nation. Riad, delicate and wide-eyed, follows in the trail of his mismatched parents; his mother, a bookish French student, is as modest as his father is flamboyant. Venturing first to the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab State and then joining the family tribe in Homs, Syria, they hold fast to the vision of the paradise that always lies just around the corner.”
  3. Baddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq
    • “Coming-of-age story about a young boy named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. Raised in a refugee camp called Baddawi in northern Lebanon, Ahmad is just one of the thousands of Palestinians who fled their homeland after the war in 1948 established the state of Israel. In this visually arresting graphic novel, Leila Abdelrazaq explores her father’s childhood in the 1960s and ’70s from a boy’s eye view as he witnesses the world crumbling around him and attempts to carry on, forging his own path in the midst of terrible uncertainty.”
  4. The best we could do: An illustrated memoir by Thi Bui
    • “The Best We Could Do is an intimate look at one family’s journey form their war-torn home in Vietnam to their new lives in America. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent–the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.”
  5. Bingo love by Tee Franklin
    • “When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.”
  6. Black Panther: World of Wakanda  by Roxane Gay
    • “You know them now as the Midnight Angels, but in this story they are just Ayo and Aneka, young women recruited to become Dora Milaje, an elite task force trained to protect the crown of Wakanda at all costs. Their first assignment will be to protect Queen Shuri… but what happens when your nation needs your hearts and minds, but you already gave them to each other? Meanwhile, former king T’Challa lies with bedfellows so dark, disgrace is inevitable. Plus, explore the true origins of the People’s mysterious leader, Zenzi. Black Panther thinks he knows who Zenzi is and how she got her powers – but he only knows part of the story!”
  7. Dare to disappoint: Growing up in Turkey  by Özge Samancı
    • “As a child in Izmir, Turkey in the 1980 and 90s, Özge Samanci watched as her country struggled between its traditional religious heritage and the new secular westernized world of brand-name products and television stars. In Özge’s own family, she struggled to figure out the place where she belonged, too. Her older sister was a perfect student, and her dad hoped Özge would study hard, go to good schools, and become an engineer to find stability in their country’s uncertain economic climate. But Özge was a dreamer and wanted adventure. This touching memoir shows how Özge dared to overcome both her family and her country’s expectations to find happiness by being an artist.”
  8. El Deafo by Cece Bell
    • “In this funny, poignant graphic memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful–and very awkward–hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear–sometimes things she shouldn’t–but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.”
  9. La Lucha: The story of Lucha Castro and human rights in Mexico by Jon Sack
    • “The Mexican border state of Chihuahua and its city Juárez have become notorious the world over as hotbeds of violence. Drug cartel battles and official corruption result in more murders annually in Chihuahua than in war-torn Afghanistan. Thanks to a culture of impunity, 97 percent of the killings in Juárez go unsolved. Despite a climate of fear, a small group of human rights activists, exemplified by the Chihuahua lawyer and organizer Lucha Castro, works to identify the killers and their official enablers. This is the story of La Lucha, illustrated in beautiful and chilling comic book art, rendering in rich detail the stories of families ripped apart by disappearances and murders–especially gender-based violence–and the remarkably brave advocacy, protests, and investigations of ordinary citizens who turned their grief into resistance”
  10. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney
    • “Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic but terrified that medications would cause her to lose her creativity and livelihood, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability without losing herself or her passion. Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the “crazy artist,” Ellen found inspiration from the lives and work of other artist and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath.”
  11. March by John Lewis
    • “This graphic novel is a first-hand account of Congressman John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.”
  12. Monster: A graphic novel  by Walter Dean Myers
    • “While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.”
  13. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
    • “Nimona, a young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy, and Lord Ballister Blackheart, a villain with a vendetta, set out to prove that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his friends are not the heroes everyone thinks they are, but Lord Blackheart soon realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past, and her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.”
  14. Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
    • “Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions and the topic of India is permanently closed. For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she finds a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film.”
  15. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood  by Satrapi, Marjane
    • “Persepolis is the story of Marjane Satrapi’s childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland.”
  16. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
    • “Prince Sebastian hides from his parents his secret life of dressing up as the hottest fashion icon in Paris, the fabulous Lady Crystallia, while his friend Frances the dressmaker strives to keep her friend’s secret.”
  17. “Puerto Rico strong: A comics anthology supporting Puerto Rico disaster relief and recovery edited by Marco Lopez, Desiree Rodriguez, Hazel Newlevant, Derek Ruiz, and Neil Schwartz.
    • “Puerto Rico Strong is a comics anthology that explores what it means to be Puerto Rican and the diversity that exists within that concept, from today’s most exciting Puerto Rican comics creators.”
  18. Runaways. 1, Find your way home by Rainbow Rowell
    • “When the Runaways eliminate the Pride from Los Angeles, it leaves a vacuum of power in the city’s underworld, and soon Nico, Karolina, Gert, Chase, and Molly are on the run again to uncover the truth behind their parents’ past before it catches up to them.”
  19. Tales from la Vida: A Latinx comics anthology by Frederick Luis Aldama
    • “Collection of comics created by Latinx artists and writers that comes together to shed light on their various autobiographical experiences as situated within the language, culture, history, and sociopolitics that inform Latinx hemispheric identities and subjectivities.”
  20. Undocumented: A worker’s fight by Duncan Tonatiuh
    • “Juan grew up in Mexico working in the fields to help provide for his family. Struggling for money, Juan crosses over into the United States and becomes an undocumented worker, living in a poor neighborhood, working hard to survive. Though he is able to get a job as a busboy at a restaurant, he is severely undercompensated–he receives less than half of the minimum wage! Risking his boss reporting him to the authorities for not having proper resident papers, Juan risks everything and stands up for himself and the rest of the community.

Have favorites that aren’t in this list? Share them with us in the comments.