Short looks at the books I’ve pulled from my library shelves in a year both heartbreaking and galvanizing.
Pauli Murray was one of the most consequential and hopeful of 20th century Americans.
I made a resolution in 2016 to return and read Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me once or twice a year, just to keep that clear voice and perspective front of mind. International Women’s Day seemed to be a special moment this year to act on that resolution. I took time today during my lunch break to read, once again, of the silencing that occurs when men talk over women. As Solnit phrases it, “Being told that, categorically, he knows what he’s talking about and she doesn’t, however minor a part of any given conversation, perpetuates the ugliness of this world and holds back its light.” We are living in an age when our civic discourse shows just how serious the impacts of this silencing can be. Solnit ends the postscript to the original essay by noting, “Having the right to show up and speak are basic to survival, to dignity, and to liberty.” I think about this dynamic a great deal. When I’m learning from and celebrating the accomplishments of women, I am …
Patricia Bell-Scott’s wonderful 2016 book raises the level of attention to the work and legacy of Pauli Murray.