A Conversation with Anna Malaika Tubbs, Author of The Three Mothers
Anna Malaika Tubbs is an author, advocate, educator, and scholar. In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, Anna…
Anna Malaika Tubbs is an author, advocate, educator, and scholar. In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, Anna celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the three women who raised and shaped some of America’s most pivotal heroes: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin. Human recently co-hosted an event with Valence, discussing Anna’s new book. We encourage you to purchase Anna’s book here if you haven’t already gotten your copy!
So much has been written about the civil rights icons who have forever changed our country for the better. But what about the families and communities surrounding the leaders in the spotlight? Anna Malaika Tubbs sought to learn more about the women who shaped these leaders and to combat the erasure that they have faced. As the former First Partner of Stockton and as a mother herself, Anna has witnessed the erasure of all the people surrounding a person in the spotlight. Anna shared how she arrived at these three mothers, and the surprising commonality she found between the three women. She also shed light on how these mothers influenced her own motherhood journey, as she had her son in the process of completing her Ph.D. and writing this book.
Anna shared that we have to understand these women to understand these men. We have to look back at and learn from history to move forward. There are realities we have to face, but Anna remains optimistic. There are a lot of impactful policies we can put in place, but politicians must listen to women when shaping them — especially Black women.
Anna shared what change she hopes to inspire and see:
A celebration of Black women: “We should seen in our wholeness, as the human beings we are, and people feel called to action to celebrate who we are today and lighten their burden and make their lives easier. The book has tangible movements for what we can do to make Black women’s lives easier.”
Recognition of mothers: “I want mothers to be seen — mothers deserve to be seen. I see you and I celebrate you. Mothers should see themselves in my book — as the powerful revolutionaries we are.”
More comprehensive history: “As a community and country, when we tell our history — stop reducing historical movements to just individual historical figures. We should be talking about the communities that raised them and those around them that contributed to their pursuits.”
She shared for founders, builders, and investors:
Pay attention to who you are forgetting and focus on inclusivity in your product offerings. Ask yourself — who are you leaving out of the story? Recognition is huge. There is always a question of who we are not recognizing. If you center someone who is not being recognized, it will completely change what you can do. If you leave Black women’s stories out of your idea, there are huge missed opportunities in your customer base. A lot of good can happen when you mobilize and put your money behind women. For companies who are working on their DEI strategy: it’s not just the “right” thing to do — it’s the economically smart thing to do.
In addition to her book, Anna recommends reading:
Sister Citizen by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
Revolutionary Mothering by Alexis Pauline Gumb
Birthing Justice by Julia Chinyere Oparah and Alicia D. Bonaparte
Thank you for sharing your work with the Human community, Anna!
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