Flat-Footed Truths: Telling Black Women's Lives [NOOK Book]


To tell the flat-footed truth is a southern saying that means to tell the naked truth. This revealing and inspiring anthology brings together twenty-seven creative spirits who, through essays, interviews, poetry, and photographic images, tell about Black women's artistic lives. In the opening section that discusses the risks involved in sharing your life with others, Sapphire tells us about the challenges she has faced in recording her experiences when she has never known any validation that her life was ...
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Flat-Footed Truths: Telling Black Women's Lives

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To tell the flat-footed truth is a southern saying that means to tell the naked truth. This revealing and inspiring anthology brings together twenty-seven creative spirits who, through essays, interviews, poetry, and photographic images, tell about Black women's artistic lives. In the opening section that discusses the risks involved in sharing your life with others, Sapphire tells us about the challenges she has faced in recording her experiences when she has never known any validation that her life was important. The next section is concerned with rekindling the lives of those who have been lost or neglected, with examples such as Alice Walker's search for the real story of Zora Neale Hurston. The third section, which affirms lives of resistance, has, among other works, Audre Lorde's acclaimed essay "Poetry Is Not a Luxury." The final chapters, focusing on transformed lives, include an insightful interview with Sonia Sanchez.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rather than solicit autobiographical essays, Bell-Scott, a professor of child, family and women's studies at the University of Georgia, and Johnson-Bailey, an assistant professor of adult education at the same university, sought contributors who could comment on the process of how black women relate their stories in their writings and art. The book, organized in three sections"Telling One's Own Life," "Claiming Lives Lost" and "Telling Lives as Resistance"succeeds admirably in examining the difficulties and rewards of autobiography. The tone is beautifully set with a piece by bell hooks on the uncertain quality of memory and the struggle to capture the past with the lens of the present. An interview with Sapphire highlights the danger of reductionism as she recounts the story of people who wanted to meet her not because of her work but because she had once been a prostitute. The collection's least pensive but most touching essay is provided by Alice Walker, who writes about her quest to buy a gravestone for writer Zora Neale Hurston. Other pieces include Senate testimony by Anita Hill, the stellar "Poetry Is Not a Luxury" by Audre Lorde, a brief biography of Sojourner Truth by Nell Painter and uplifting poems by Ruth Forman, Elaine Shelly and Becky Birtha. Several essayists discuss not just how to write autobiography but why and when. Bell-Scott and Johnson-Bailey have gathered together a formidable group of women who write with power and grace. June
The 27 contributors share<-->through essays, interviews, poetry, and photos<-->their truths on Black women's lives past and present. Issues confronted include: taking risks in relating one's life e.g. Sapphire's account of validation eluding her, claiming lives lost as in Alice Walker's "Looking for Zora", affirming lives as resistance Anita Hill's testimony, and telling lives as transformation Valerie Jean's "Writing Survival". No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
A vibrant and passionate collection of writings by a disparate group of African-American women. Bell-Scott, a contributing editor at Ms. magazine, has assembled the voices of 27 writers who offer insights into the lives of black women. In the first of its four sections, the writers muse on the risks and rewards of sharing one's life with others. Poet, novelist, and performance artist Sapphire recounts the healing effect that writing had on her. Rendering her no longer invisible as a black lesbian "survivor," the written word verified her existence. Sapphire compares the initial stages of creating Precious, the controversial central character of her first novel Push, to a pregnancy whose outcome is a "beautiful child." The second section of Flat-Footed Truths focuses on the attempts of African-American women to reclaim the lives of those black women who've been neglected. Alice Walker presents a fascinating account of her journey to Zora Neale Hurston's hometown of Eatonville, Fla., in her determination to find out the circumstances of Hurston's death and to provide her grave with a proper headstone. The following section, "Telling Lives As Resistance," reflects on the dangers of remaining silent in the face of racism and sexism. The excerpts from Anita Hill's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas remain as riveting as when they were first broadcast on national television. Audre Lorde's essay "Poetry Is Not a Luxury" speaks about the power of poetry to realize dreams and give Black women "the strength and courage to see, to feel, to speak and to dare." The final section, "Telling Lives As Transformation," speaks about the power ofthe written word to transform lives and to literally save them. Sonia Sanchez sees her poetry as an opportunity not only to save herself, but to "give Black people strength, power and a sense of themselves." A highly accessible collection of essays, interviews, poems, and photographs that provide penetrating insights into the lives of African-American women, and all women, past and present.
From the Publisher

"A moving tribute to African-American women. The personal stories and memoirs . . . reveal the full measure of lives honestly and fully lived." (Chicago Tribune)

"This book will challenge the creative and artistic spirit within us all and bring forth those truths that linger in our darkness." (Atlanta Daily World)

"Flat-Footed Truths is an eloquent and spirited book that explores the many faces of authenticity and truth in Black women's lives. It is fiercely honest and stunning in its power to enrich and inform us. It deserves our closest attention." (Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of The Dance of Anger and The Dance of Deception)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466857636
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/19/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 238
  • Sales rank: 1,225,660
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Patricia Bell-Scott is a contributing editor at Ms. magazine, editor of Life Notes, and the co-editor of Double Stitch, which won the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Prize. She lives in Athens, Georgia, and is a professor at the University of Georgia. Juanita Johnson-Bailey also teaches at the University of Georgia and lives in Macon.

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Table of Contents

Telling Flat-Footed Truths: An Introduction
In Her Chair [photo]
Self-Portraits [photo]: Gilda Snowden 3
If You Lose Your Pen 5
Writing Autobiography 7
Sapphire: The Artist as Witness 15
Harriet Ann Buckley: An Artist Storyteller 24
Autobiography 34
I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance [photo]: Sojourner Truth 39
Through the Storm, through the Night 41
Looking for Zora 43
The Brass Bed 67
To Miss Ida Bee with Love 72
Representing Truth: Sojourner Truth's Knowing and Becoming Known 97
Legacy/Repeat after Me 137
Indian Blood [photo]: Robbie McCauley 143
I am writing this 145
Poetry Is Not a Luxury 147
My American Herstory 152
"I Had to Tell the Truth": Testimony to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's Confirmation Hearings for Judge Clarence Thomas 165
Barbara Smith: A Home Girl with a Mission 173
In Answer to the Question: Have You Ever Considered Suicide? 184
She [photo]: Wini McQueen 189
Movin' and Steppin' 191
The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action 193
Writing Survival 198
Poet Sonia Sanchez: Telling What We Must Hear 209
A Poem for Flight 223
Contributors 225
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