Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith
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Reveals a remarkable woman’s life and her contributions to social justice movements related to Civil Rights, feminism, lesbian and gay liberation, anti-racism, and Black feminism.
Silver Winner, 2014 ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year Award in the Women's Studies Category
2015 Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Memoir/Biography presented by the Lambda Literary Foundation
2015 Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction presented by the Publishing Triangle
As an organizer, writer, publisher, scholar-activist, and elected official, Barbara Smith has played key roles in multiple social justice movements, including Civil Rights, feminism, lesbian and gay liberation, anti-racism, and Black feminism. Her four decades of grassroots activism forged collaborations that introduced the idea that oppression must be fought on a variety of fronts simultaneously, including gender, race, class, and sexuality. By combining hard-to-find historical documents with new unpublished interviews with fellow activists, this book uncovers the deep roots of today's "identity politics" and "intersectionality" and serves as an essential primer for practicing solidarity and resistance.
Alethia Jones is Director of Education and Leadership Development at 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. Virginia Eubanks is Associate Professor of Women's Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York and author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age. Barbara Smith is Public Service Professor in the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She served two terms as a member of the City of Albany's Common Council, and is the author of The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom.
"Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around creatively utilizes roughly two hundred publications, and interviews spanning forty years, to successfully explore the roots and fruits of Smith's activism and intellect … As African American bodies continue to come under attack across the United States with inadequate consequences and news coverage, [this book] is urgent reading because it clarifies our understanding of interlocking systems of oppression, the many types of violence they generate, and the need to fight against them." — Journal of African American History
"…a wonderful read on solidarity, resistance, and outsider politics." — The Advocate
"…Barbara Smith is everything. So is this book … [it] challenges us all to dig deeper in our work and never stop pursuing actual, authentic liberation." — Autostraddle
"In a clear, accessible, and conversational style, the book engages readers in fundamental questions that those committed to social justice must grapple with in order to deepen their work and heighten their integrity, accountability, and courage." — EDGE Boston
"As a black lesbian feminist, activist, scholar, and elected official, Barbara Smith has been speaking truth to power for four decades. This extensive collection of writings and interviews portrays one indomitable woman and many invaluable movements." — Chronogram
"Barbara Smith has played a groundbreaking role in opening and expanding our national cultural and political dialogues about the intersections of race, class, sexuality, and gender. Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around … brings to life the controversies, players and strategies that expanded the definitions of freedom and liberation over four decades." — Seattle Lesbian
"...a massive and important work … This will be an important book for students of the Civil Rights movement, but also for those who want to know what it takes to build movements, and movements that last." — San Francisco Book Review
"Barbara Smith is a creator of modern feminism as a writer, organizer, editor, publisher, and scholar. Now she has added to her decades as an activist outside the system by becoming an elected official who truly listens, represents, and creates bridges to a common good. She has shown us that democracy is a seed that can only be planted where we are." — Gloria Steinem
"Barbara Smith is one of the grand pioneering and prophetic voices of our time. Her truth still hurts and heals!" — Cornel West
"Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around is not a memoir, a biography, nor a reader. It is a reflection and a conversation. It is also a montage of forty years of documents, interviews, and articles that provide useful lessons for social justice work. This book is a tour de force that documents the life's work of Barbara Smith and the freedom struggles she shaped." — Duchess Harris, author of Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Obama