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ISBN: 978-1-62557-091-8
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Categories Anthologies, Non Fiction

Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels: Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You’ve Been Told about Black Women

Publication Date: February 2024


Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels: Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You’ve Been Told about Black Women revisits notions of Black womanhood to include the ways in which Black women’s perceived strength can function as a dangerous denial of Black women’s humanity. This collection addresses the stigma of this extraordinary endurance in professional and personal spaces, the Black church, in interpersonal partnerships, and within the justice arena, while also giving voice and value to Black women’s experiences as the backbone of the Black family and community.


Nafeesah Allen, Karma Alvey, Karen Anderson, Denise Nichole Andrews, Marissa Boglin, Asantewaa Boykin, Keisha Brissette, Ofelia Brooks, Olivia Brown, Dane A. Campbell, Esperanza Cintrón, Kenneth Dalrymple, Margot Dashiell, Joy Davis, Jeanine DeHoney, Pietra Dunmore, K E Garland, Janel George, c.r. glasgow, Yvette J. Green, LaCharmine Jefferson, Candid Johnson, Tatiana Johnson-Boria, Moriah Katz, Janice Liddell, DW McKinney, Jasminum McMullen, Marcelle Mentor, Danielle Monique, Aisha Nelson, Sean O’Connell, Chris Omni, Tina Bethea Ray, Margaret Scott, Shawna Shipley-Gates,Debra C. Smith, Porsha Stennis, Amiah Taylor, Annella Thomas, Renée Westbrook, Sarah White, Allison Whittenberg, Alexis M. Wright


Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels: Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You’ve Been Told About Black Women serves as a needed and necessary homeplace for Black women and their truths. The essays within this collection make space for, and peace with, the oftentimes complicated, contradicting, and co-existing truths of Black womanhood. Through unapologetically honest prose, poetry, and the occasional playlist, the editors and contributors composed a beautifully honest celebration and declaration of Black women’s humanity, voice, and power. For Black women who have grown accustomed to only seeing themselves in pieces, come to this kitchen table and eat and sip yourself—body, mind, and soul—whole.
-Dr. Ronisha Browdy

Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels: Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You’ve Been Told about Black Women masterfully unravels long-standing misconceptions surrounding black women by delving into the historical, cultural, and societal constructs that have shaped these narratives. With a powerful, insightful, and unapologetic tone, the authors challenge conventional wisdom while offering a fresh perspective on the rich tapestry of Black womanhood. The book’s engaging writing styles and well-researched content make it an essential read for anyone interested in understanding the complex dynamics that have influenced the portrayal of Black women throughout history. By the end of this compelling journey, readers will find themselves questioning their preconceived notions and inspired to challenge the status quo.
-Dr. Janie Lacy

This book of thoughtful offerings—essays, reflections, playlists, and interviews reflect with incredible depth, Black women’s lived experiences. Here, the complexity of personhood, embodiment, intellectual life, and emotional and spiritual worlds, are taken up with the personal and collective “I.” These authors have much to say, and in the tradition of canonical Black feminist edited collections, their words will reverberate for generations.
-Dr. Bettina Judd

About the Authors

Jan Boulware

Dr. Jan Boulware is a tenured Associate Professor of English and Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Bethune-Cookman University, located in Daytona Beach, Florida. Dr. Boulware has built her career in education on myriad levels—from primary school to the tertiary level. She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southern University, an M.Ed. in Reading from Mercer University, and a dual doctorate degree in English and Humanities from Clark Atlanta University. She is an accomplished teacher-researcher, writer, curriculum creator, and administrator. Her research interests include Africana Women's Literature, African American Folklore, and Dialect & Cultural Linguistics.

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Rondrea Mathis

Dr. Rondrea Danielle Mathis has a career focused on the intersection of Black women and God. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Bethune-Cookman University where she teaches English Composition, Black Women Writers, and a seminar course on Toni Morrison. Dr. Mathis is a two-time graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida where she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Education in Secondary Education/English Education. She also earned her Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature from the University of South Florida and has taken courses in Black Theology, Black Homiletics, and both the Old and New Testaments at Bethune-Cookman University. Her ongoing academic research focuses on how Black Christian women achieve self-definition, and her popular writing addresses Black women who are S.I.N.K.ing (Single Income/No Kids), but not drowning. Dr. Mathis is also a licensed minister in the Baptist church who loves social justice, gender equality, womanist theology, and critical engagement with the word of God.

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Clarissa West-White

Dr. Clarissa West-White is a Reference Librarian/Instructor at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has degrees in Creative Writing, Curriculum & Instruction English Education and Information from Florida State University. Dr. West-White has experience as a middle and high school English teacher, program coordinator, adult literacy director, university English department chair, and assistant professor and adjunct at a number of public and private universities in the state of Florida and online. Her areas of research are as vast as her experiences, but focuses primarily on the intersections of African Americans and education, including information and technology.

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Kideste Mariam Yusef

Dr. Kideste Mariam Yusef is a tenured Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and the Department Chair of the undergraduate Criminal Justice and Master’s in Criminal Justice Administration programs at Bethune-Cookman University. She also serves as the Director of the B-CU Center for Law and Social Justice. Dr. Yusef has twenty years of collegiate teaching experience including undergraduate and graduate instruction in Criminal Justice, Sociology, and African American/African Studies. Her areas of expertise include community-police relations, police use of force, race and social justice, and performance management. Dr. Yusef currently serves as the National Coordinator of Student-Law Enforcement Engagement for the 400 Years of African American History Commission “I Fear for My Life” Federal Initiative, which establishes a national dialogue between African American college students and police based on the common theme of fear. She received a B.S. in Criminal Justice with a minor in African American Studies and M.A. in Applied Sociology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, M.A. in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Law, Policy, and Practice from The Graduate Center/John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University New York. She is the proud mother of three amazing children, Senait Wudasse, Melesse Selam, and Kebra Egziabher. 

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