Personal is Political.

Our “Personal Is Political” column honors personal narrative as a source of theory and analysis, politics, pedagogy, and survival. Thus, in keeping with the feminist legacy of naming the private and personal as sites that are no less political than the public, we are committed to making space for explicating and interrogating the lives of feminists, as well as the space necessary to offer self-reflexive analyses. In this column, we will publish first-person essays, autobiographical accounts, testimonies, and memoirs that pay homage to and elevate the lived experiences of feminists throughout the world. NOTE: Please review each category carefully to make sure you’re submitting your work to the appropriate reviewers.

How Toni Cade Bambara Saved Me

November 28, 2014
By
Photo Credit: Petra Richterova

Imani Uzuri: I spent many stolen hours crying in a quiet gazebo meditating on the wide sky and trying to understand who I was becoming, trying to understand how I was changing. The questions cascaded over me, Who are you? Do you want to be whole? Are you willing to be broken apart, separated...
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Wholeness, Homeness: A Love Note to Toni

November 28, 2014
By
Photo

Rita Dove: So my first meeting with Toni occurred under the glare of bright lights; and though I don’t recall what words were exchanged—the welcoming applause drowned out all dialogue, anyway—what I do remember, as I found myself immediately enveloped in her warm embrace, is thinking: “Yes, I am home, truly home.”
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A Letter to Toni

November 26, 2014
By
Cleage

Pearl Cleage: I remember us welcoming our own daughters into our undeniably bohemian lives and wanting them to grow up strong and free. We wanted that for them. And we got it. You would be so proud of Karma for being everything she is. When we see her, we smile at you in her....
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The Art of Getting to the Point

November 25, 2014
By
Brown

Wesley Brown: A woman asked the honorees why black writers weren’t giving their readers more positive stories about black life. Toni responded immediately, saying, “I’ve seen you before at literary events, like this one. And you always ask the same question. If there are stories that you want to see written, maybe that’s...
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Permission

November 24, 2014
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Tina Morton and Toni Cade Bambara
photo credit: Carlton Jones

Tina Morton: So fast-forward 20 years later. I quit my job as an x-ray tech, went to graduate school for film, and am now an Associate Professor at Howard University. Because Toni Cade Bambara gave me permission to be what I could not even imagine myself to be…a filmmaker. I love you, Toni, I...
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Toni Cade Bambara of Simpson Avenue

November 21, 2014
By
Nikky Finney(Rachel Eliza Griffiths photographer)

Nikky Finney: I knew this tradition. Older Black women handing over younger Black women to the next Black woman in line for her Finishing work. It took me several weeks to get up the nerve to call. Next thing I knew, I was walking up the hill to Toni Cade’s Pamoja writing workshop. This...
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Toni Cade Bambara’s “Toni-Isms”

November 21, 2014
By
Carole Brown and Toni Cade Bambara circa 1950s
courtesy: Carole Brown

Carole Brown: You have touched thousands of aspiring and seasoned writers, students, and just plain folks worldwide. Your fame has never taken the place of your love for our Black community, because you desired success for everyone you came in contact with—even strangers. Never once did you feel that you should receive disparate treatment...
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TCB Is What She Did and Was Who She Was

November 19, 2014
By
Clarke V

It was at the National Conference of African American writers held on the campus of Howard University in 1974 that she read her short story “Gorilla, My Love.” I fell in love with her voice, its cadence capturing the sound of young people. It was like hearing Charlie Parker playing “Cherokee” for the first...
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Posted in Activism, Ethnicity, Personal is Political., Poetry, Racism, Toni Cade Bambara, World, Writing | 1 Comment »

Reflections on Toni Cade Bambara

November 19, 2014
By
rosemari hugging sam

S. E. Anderson and Rosemari Mealy: Hearing Toni’s voice in her poetry presentations was both serious-determined with a jazzy lyrical flava. I strongly believe Sista Toni’s readings, writings and mentorship would have a great and direct influence on the younger upcoming poets, such as Jessica Care Moore, Tony Medina, Kevin Powell, Asha Bandele, and...
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Toni Cade Bambara

November 17, 2014
By
giddings paula j. ap1 (2)

Paula J. Giddings: The relevance of the to-do list, nearly a half-century later is remarkable; the sensibility definitely our own; and the attitude shaped the attitude of succeeding generations. As Beverly Guy-Sheftall and bell hooks have pointed out, The Black Woman showed us a still unfamiliar and highly contested terrain: a transformative vision of...
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Arts & Culture

  • Remembering and Honoring Toni Cade Bambara Sanchez

    Sonia Sanchez: What are we pretending not to know today? The premise as you said, my sister, being that colored people on planet earth really know everything there is to know. And if one is not coming to grips with the knowledge, it must mean that one is either scared or pretending to be stupid.

  • Hunger Kwame Laughing Foto

    They say you had the eye; they say you saw
    into people. They say you came before as shaman
    or bruja and returned as priestess; they say you were
    stonebreaker. But for me, you were a big sister
    feeling for a lonely brother with no language
    to lament, and you gave me more days, and
    more days. Yes, they could have called you
    Grace, Bambara; they could have called you that.

  • Stroller (A Screenplay) Black families and community

    Roxana Walker-Canton: Natalie sits in her own seat in front of her mother and looks out the window. Mostly WHITE PEOPLE get on and off the bus now. The bus rides through a neighborhood of single family homes. A BLACK WOMAN with TWO WHITE CHILDREN get on the bus. Natalie stares at the children.

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