Advance Praise

What people are already saying about Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines

sp11528_0Revolutionary Mothering: Love On the Frontlines is juicy, gutsy, vulnerable, and very brave.  These women insist on having their children in a society that does not welcome them, in a world that is rapidly falling apart.  Their dream for their children, based on their love of them, encompasses the sorrow and the joy that mothers everywhere, whether human, animal, or plant, feel at this time.  A radical vision, many radical visions of how to mother in a time of resistance and of pain.

-Alice Walker

LorettaRossheadshotThis extraordinary book is not only radical in its redefinition of “mothering,” but also addresses the fact that humanity is inter-dependent, and we need each other to survive.  This is in direct opposition to the demonization of human inter-dependence used to justify dismantling of the welfare state. How do we get from a conservative definition of mothering as a biological destiny to mothering as a liberating practice that can thwart runaway capitalism? This book builds that particular bridge while also providing a bridge from the women of color testimonies of the 1980s and 90s to today’s imperatives.

Our mere existence is a subversive act. Rethinking mothering from a radical point of view leads to considering survival as a form of self-love, and as a service and gift to others whose lives would be incalculably diminished without us. Sharing our strengths while honoring our weaknesses together is not a contradiction but a way to make love powerful, the essence of this ambitious and theoretically futuristic anthology.

Loretta Ross founder of SisterSong: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Coalition (in her preface to the book)


tumblr_inline_n6q875nxYv1qhqqoxFor women of color, the art of mothering-has been framed by the most virulent systems, historically: enslavement, colonialism, capitalism, imperialism. We have had few opportunities to define mothering not only as an aspect of individual lives and choices, but as the processes of love and as a way of structuring community. Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines arrives as a needed balm. AsToni Cade Bambara once said, we need to “make revolution irresistible.”

—-Alexis De Veaux, author of Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde and Yabo

Photograph-of-Dr.-Beverly-Guy-SheftallREVOLUTIONARY MOTHERING is a love offering from diverse women of color around the globe–queer, immigrant, activist, feminist, poets, workers. An urgent call for radical, transgressive, political, defiant mothering, co-editors Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Wiilliams provide an antidote to obligatory, compulsory motherhood which is pioneering and liberating.

Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College


Since i am a  “non-bio/mothering” female, who finds the idea of something growing in, then popping out of my body repugnant, nauseating and depressing to even contemplate, it comes as a great and refreshing surprise that i honestly enjoyed this intense, vibrantly inspiring  collection about “radical mothering.”  Not just enjoyed; learned and totally admire(d) the range of eclectic essays and approaches, as well as the brave, wonderful, trail-blazing writers. Recommended for any passionately thinking person who cares about the quality of life in the near or distant future. For people who want to make a major serious difference; for revolutionaries on a most profound and basic level.

doris davenport, poet/writer/educator & one of the original contributors  to This Bridge Called my Back

Karsonya-Wise-WhiteheadThere are some books that are considered to be necessary and needed because they speak to the issues that guide our heart and situate our world. Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines is one of those books. Although it is primarily written for mothers of all ages, the issues that are raised –about family, love, struggle, sacrifice, and acceptance–are universal as they speak to the revolutionary that exists within all of us. It is the book that you will turn to again and again; the one that will become a lifestyle handbook in your home; and, the one that you will recommend as a lifeline when folks feel that they have nothing left to give either to themselves or to others. It is the book that mothers have been waiting for…– Karsonya Wise Whitehead, Ph.D.,  author Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis and Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America 

BaileyWebImage1there is an artform in the nurturing of life. when we think of the word revolutionary, what often comes to mind is a warrior with a roar of ‘NO’ on their lips, moving against the forces of oppression. and there is this other force, the soil for the seed, the water for the green and fragile form, the wisdom to listen, the question that climbs under the cover where you cower away from the psychological and socioeconomic monsters, the shoulder with a collarbone cup for tears. the soft voice whispering, and believing, that who you are is marvelous and miraculous and irreplaceable. this collection offers us voices from those living into and redefining the act of mothering – in your hands is gift after gift of lessons learned on an intergenerational front line. listen to those who hold hands with the future – herein lies everything.

-adrienne maree brown, co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

urlRevolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines is the revolutionary Black and Brown, queer and trans, disabled, non and many partnered parenting manual manifestor we have been waiting for. I am so grateful to see this book in the world, collecting pieces of work I have soaked up eagerly when I read them online, in zines, as handouts in workshops and in now out of print magazines. “Love is lifeforece” is a line June Jordan said, presented in an unpublished essay of hers for the first time. That phrase has been on my lips since I read it. This book is revolutionary, marginalized, resisting mama/parenting love lifeforce magic.

-Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, author of Dirty River, Love Cake and Consensual Genocide

photoThrough Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams have acted as parteras comunitarias, midwifes of words and experiences. This collection reflects, documents, and carries on an ancient and living legacy of practicing and defining motherhood beyond the constraints of the biological. As someone who has been living and writing about the mami’hood, the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality and activism through the lens of mothering, this book reads and feels like a shared collective deep breath, a shared chant/cancion of affirmation, reclamation, and transformation. – Maegan “la Mamita Mala” Ortiz, NYRican Mami Media Maker

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the book for readers who know mothering is not just about a baby and a mother or parents in an isolated suburban nursery, but that mothering happens in a context of generations, a context of racial history, and in a spiritual context; that it takes place from the shore line to the front line, in times of scarcity and abundance; that it is queer and love filled. Here, revolution, love, and mothering are an inseparable unity. Here, the voices of women of color feminists — mothers, daughters, childcare workers — carry on the conversation begun in the 1970s and 1980s, pick up the threads of the reproductive justice movement which has been in the struggle for 20 years.

freedom-plowThese writings are grounded in the force of transgressive love. It is an act of love by the editors and a gift for readers that June Jordan’s “The Creative Spirit: Children’s Literature” is anthologized here for the first time. Jordan says, “I believe that love is life-force… I see love as the essential nature of all that supports life.”

The book’s first sentence opens in the “… complex matrix of domination and oppression… under Ronald Reagan’s cowboy capitalism.” The dozens of essays which follow illuminate the complexity of radical 21st century mothering. The book ends in the home, close up, with one mother and her children: for a year, the mother has drawn a coffee cup a day to remind herself to mind her own needs and desires. On her birthday, her children give her a coffee cup paper sculpture which they have made. After her children have gone to bed, she writes: “I savor how much there is to celebrate during this time of transformation.”

And transformation is what this collection of inspiring essays is about.

Faith Holseart, co-editor of Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts of Women in SNCC


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