We Speak Your Names: A Celebrationby Pearl Cleage, Zaron W. Burnett (With)
For centuries, African American women have been remaking the world, giving testament to the power of hope, courage, and resilience. But it took the inspired generosity of Oprah Winfrey to honor fully the many gifts of sisterhood. For three amazing days–from May 13 to 15, 2005–a distinguished group of women was invited to celebrate the enduring achievements of twenty-five of their mentors and role models–and in the process pay tribute to the long, glorious tradition of African American accomplishment.
The brilliant centerpiece of the weekend was the reading aloud of Pearl Cleage’s poem “We Speak Your Names,” written especially for the occasion and appearing here for the first time in this beautiful keepsake book. As deeply moving in print as it was during that weekend of love and praise, the poem names each of the women honored: Dr. Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, Diahann Carroll, Toni Morrison, Nikki Giovanni, Rosa Parks, Katherine Dunham, and other legends of the brightest magnitude. With heartfelt eloquence, Pearl Cleage (herself a luminary of the younger generation) celebrates her distinguished elders’ strength, their magic, their sensuality, their loving kindness, their faith in themselves, and the priceless example of their lives. In her introduction, the poet shares: “My sisters, here, there, and everywhere, this poem is for you. Use it, adapt it, pass it on. . . .”
Destined to become a classic, We Speak Your Names is a treasure to keep forever and a precious, inspiring gift for the ones you love.
- Random House Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.06(w) x 7.27(h) x 0.42(d)
Read an Excerpt
Because we are free women,
born of free women,
who are born of free women,
back as far as time begins,
we celebrate your freedom.
Because we are wise women,
born of wise women,
who are born of wise women,
we celebrate your wisdom.
Because we are strong women,
born of strong women,
who are born of strong women,
we celebrate your strength.
Because we are magical women,
born of magical women,
who are born of magical women,
we celebrate your magic.
My sisters, we are gathered here to speak your names...
Meet the Author
Pearl Cleage is the author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day. . . , an Oprah’s Book Club selection; Some Things I Never Thought I’d Do, a Good Morning America Read This! book club pick; Babylon Sisters; and the forthcoming novel Baby Brother’s Blues. She is also the author of two works of nonfiction: Mad at Miles: A Black Woman’s Guide to Truth and Deals with the Devil and Other Reasons to Riot. Cleage is an accomplished dramatist as well; her plays include Flyin’ West and Blues for an Alabama Sky.
Zaron W. Burnett, Jr. is a novelist and theatre artist and the award-winning creator of the “Live at Club Zebra!” performance series.
Frequent collaborators, Cleage and Burnett, who are husband and wife, live in southwest Atlanta.
To schedule a speaking engagement, please contact American Program Bureau at www.apbspeakers.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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What a lovely selection of poetry, I felt more inspired with each and every one I read. This book reads as a celebration of womanhood, I recommend this book to all young women.
Greatly filled with inspiring words.