Charis welcomes Treva B. Lindsey in conversation with Kiese Laymon for a discussion of America, Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and the Struggle for Justice. A powerful account of violence against Black women and girls in the United States and their fight for liberation. This event is co-hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.
America, Goddam explores the combined force of anti-Blackness, misogyny, patriarchy, and capitalism in the lives of Black women and girls in the United States today. Through personal accounts and hard-hitting analysis, Black feminist historian Treva B. Lindsey starkly assesses the forms and legacies of violence against Black women and girls, as well as their demands for justice for themselves and their communities. America, Goddam powerfully demonstrates that the struggle for justice begins with reckoning with the pervasiveness of violence against Black women and girls in the United States.
Combining history, theory, and memoir, America, Goddam renders visible the gender dynamics of anti-Black violence. Black women and girls occupy a unique status of vulnerability to harm and death, while the circumstances and traumas of this violence go underreported and understudied. Lindsey also shows that the sanctity of life and liberty for Black men has been a galvanizing rallying cry within Black freedom movements. But Black women—who have been both victims of anti-Black violence as well as frontline participants in it, and quite often architects of these freedom movements—are rarely the focus. Black women have led movements demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Toyin Salau, Riah Milton, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and countless other Black women and girls whose lives have been curtailed by numerous forms of violence. Across generations and centuries, their refusal to remain silent about violence against them led many to envisioning and building toward Black liberation through organizing and radical politics. Echoing the energy of Nina Simone’s searing protest song that inspired the title, America, Goddam is a call to action in our collective journey toward just futures.
Treva B. Lindsey, PhD is a Black feminist historian and Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University. She is the recipient of several prestigious fellowships including the ACLS/Mellon Scholars and Society Fellowship, The Equity for Women and Girls of Color Fellowship at Harvard University, and The Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship. Lindsey is the founder of the Transformative Black Feminisms Initiative at Ohio State and the co-founder of Black Feminist Night School at Zora’s House in Columbus, Ohio. Her latest book entitled America, Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and The Struggle for Justice (April 2022) explores contemporary violence against Black women and girls and how they mobilize to halt violence against them. Her first book, Colored No More: Reinventing Black Womanhood in Washington D.C., was honored as a Choice Outstanding Academic title of 2017.
She has written for outlets such as Time, The Washington Post, CNN, Bustle, Ms. Magazine, Al Jazeera, BET, Complex, NBC, Vox, The Root, Huffington Post, Popsugar, Teen Vogue, Grazia UK, The Grio, Zora, Women’s Media Center, and Cosmopolitan. Lindsey has also been a featured commentator on NPR, MSNBC, BBC, BET, BNC, and PBS. Her work on Black women and girls, race, gender, sexuality, culture, and politics encompasses the far-reaching and often untold effects of current events and pop culture moments on marginalized communities.
Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon’s bestselling memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir, won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, the Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, and was named one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by The New York Times. The audiobook, read by the author, was named the Audible 2018 Audiobook of the Year. Heavy was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction and the Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction. It was named a best book of 2018 by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly.
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