Book Review — To Be Black and a Woman by Angela L. Fraser

Rating: 3.5/5

Genre: Poetry

“In a society that sexualizes you…

In a society that tells you that you do not deserve any more than your white counterparts, or the best out of life other than what is given to you, in so many ways…

In a society that tells you your self-worth comes from pleasing others…

In a society that tells you who you should be, how to think, feel, and act…

What better way to say no to society’s demands than upholding your feminine desires, worldly knowledge, timeless wisdom, and black pride?”

via Amazon

The title captures what these poems are about: being Black and being a woman and all the pain, power, and beauty we experience.

Each poem in this collection shares the experiences of the author being a Black woman in today’s society. The poems are broken into sections “The Darker Skin”, “Navigating Relationships”, “Empowered”, and “In Society” and the opening pages to each section has a quote from Sojourner Truth (along with this book being dedicated to her). Those familiar with Truth, especially her speech “Arn’t I a Woman”, will feel similar sentiments and the power of her words in these pages. The poem themselves are fairly straightforward in terms of style, but many evoke emotions that I think many Black women can connect to. That being said, I think anyone who has felt “othered” at some point in their lives may find solace in these poems as well.

Favorite poems in the collection:

  • I forgot how to spell my last name
  • I Am the Universe (God is An Angry Black Woman)

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