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Flat-Footed Truths: Telling Black Women's Lives

Bell-Scott, Patricia; Johnson-Bailey, Juanita

17 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0805046283 / ISBN 13: 9780805046281
Published by Henry Holt and Co., New York, 1998
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Jack Skylark's Books (West Covina, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

This copy is signed, inscribed, and dated in the year of publication by author Bell-Scott, on the second front end paper. Book and BroDart protected jacket are fine, without faults. First edition / first printing. Ships in bubble wrap in box. Bookseller Inventory # PC 4-11

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Flat-Footed Truths: Telling Black Women's ...

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co., New York

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


A new and exciting collection from the editor of the enormously successful Life Notes and the award-winning Double Stitch. With a foreword by Marcia Ann Gillespie.

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 black women's lives. In the opening section that discusses the risks involved in sharing your life with others, Sapphire tells us about the challenges in recording her experiences when there has never been any validation that her life was important. The next section chronicles the adventure in claiming the lives of those who have been lost or neglected, such as Alice Walker's search for the real story of Zora Neale Hurston. The third part, which affirms lives of resistance, includes Audre Lorde's acclaimed essay "Poetry Is Not a Luxury." The final chapter, focusing on transformed lives, presents an insightful interview with Sonia Sanchez.

This wonderful collection, featuring such writers as bell hooks, Barbara Smith, Marcia Ann Gillespie, and Pearl Cleage, is testimony to a flourishing literary tradition, filled with daring women, that will inspire others to tell their own stories.


A flat-footed truth is just the rattling, stripped-down bones, ma'am, the hard facts not swaddled by polite frills. This ambitious collection by black women writers and artists aims less at individual stories--though it shares some good ones--and more at the larger issues of truth-telling when it hurts or scares you or shames those intent on silencing you.

Playwright Pearl Cleage drives home the unbearable pain of slavery as she tells us about the first time she heard the voice of Miss Leah, a character in her play Flyin' West. An ex-slave whose babies were taken from her while still suckling, Miss Leah, says, "When they sold my first baby boy offa the place I couldn't breathe for three days." The children she had after emancipation were stolen, too, by a fever that had them "racin' each other to heaven." An unadorned slice of the testimony given by law professor Anita Hill to a U.S. congressional committee considering Clarence Thomas for a seat on the Supreme Court is a mind-boggling refresher course in speaking out in the face of ridicule and disbelief. Sapphire, Alice Walker, and bell hooks are among the other writers who appear here alongside a few visual artists like Gilda Snowden and story-quilter Wini Akissi McQueen. --Francesca Coltrera

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