We Refuse to Be Silent

Women’s Voices on Justice for Black Men

We Refuse to Be Silent

Women’s Voices on Justice for Black Men

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As seen in the New York Times 

The women have something to say. Are you listening?

In this powerful and needed collection, editor Angela P. Dodson brings together the voices of more than thirty-five accomplished women writers on the topic of violence and injustice against Black men. These writers are journalists, authors, scholars, ministers, psychologists, counselors, and other experts. They are also wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, aunties, and friends. Each lends her voice to shine a new light on the injustices and dangers Black men face daily, and how women feel about the vulnerability of our sons, husbands, brothers, fathers, uncles, friends, and other males we care about as they navigate a world that often stereotypes and targets them. Contributors include:

-Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, poet, and author of The Light of the World

-Brenda M. Greene, founder and executive director of the Center for Black Literature, director of the National Black Writers Conference, and professor of English at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York

-Goldie Taylor, former US Marine, MSNBC contributor, author, and an editor at large of The Daily Beast

-Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize winner, National Humanities Medal recipient, and author of Caste and The Warmth of Other Suns

-Charisse Jones, award-winning journalist and coauthor of eight books, including Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America and the New York Times bestselling memoir of Misty Copeland, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina

-Audrey Edwards, former executive editor of Essence magazine and the author of seven books, including the award-winning American Runaway: Black and Free in Paris in the Trump Years

-Michelle Duster, author, public historian, and great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells

-Sonya Ross, managing editor of Inside Climate News, founder of Black Women Unmuted, AP's first Black woman White House reporter, and first Black woman elected to the board of the White House Correspondents Association

-Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, contributing writer at The New Yorker, Leon Forrest Professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University, author of Race for Profit, and editor of How We Get Free

-Donna Brazile, endowed chair of the Gwendolyn and Colbert King public policy lecture series at Howard University, member of USA Today's Board of Contributors, Fox News contributor, and author of Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House

-Darnella Frazier, citizen journalist awarded a Pulitzer citation for her role filming the murder of George Floyd

The catalyst for a national conversation, this collection offers historical context that is often missing from public discussions and media coverage, while demonstrating an ongoing pattern of demonizing Black men that is rooted deep in the history of our nation. The essays in this book engage with the emotional toll anti-Black violence takes on women in particular and cast a vision for future activism.


"In this collection, Angela P. Dodson has gathered some of the finest women writers available to address the egregious injustices that Black men confront every day. The women speaking on their behalf express empathy and deep emotional pain over the daily indignities, the slights, and the all-too-frequent extrajudicial killings that their fathers, husbands, sons, and other Black men in their lives face. These women also bring a wealth of fresh reporting, authoritative data, and disciplined analysis to the topic. Their work will help deepen the conversations about justice and help guide the way to solutions."

Dorothy Butler Gilliam, author of Trailblazer: A Pioneering Journalist's Fight to Make the Media Look More Like America, social justice advocate, media diversity expert, and the first Black female reporter at the Washington Post

"Whatever the class or profession, there is no Black woman in America who has not been impacted by the police brutality and inequities within the criminal justice system on the lives of the Black men she loves. In this powerful collection of diverse and often searing essays, thirty-five women writers--from journalists and poets to professors and novelists--raise their voices in one single chorus to sound the alarm, refusing to be silent on an issue that threatens to destroy their very community. This important anthology is a clarion call to action, in the wake of the anger unleashed by an unjust justice system."

Edward Lewis, cofounder and former publisher of Essence magazine

"Leave it (again) to Black women to be the strongest voices in the room--not the loudest. Still, these essays roar in emotion and perspective. They are sensitive and bold, revealing, . . . and they illuminate a common theme: maleficence against Black men is a perpetual burden taken on by the Black woman in multiple, painful ways."

Curtis Bunn, journalist at NBC BLK, best-selling author, and founder of the National Book Club Conference

"A must-read for mothers and sisters and for fathers and sons. This book helps others to understand the weight Black women carry for our Black men. It gives voice to the fears, anxiety and anger that live in all of us because of the continued 'tiny cuts' that eventually lead to the death of our men.... This book uncovers how the unaddressed collective impact of the deaths of Black boys and men is a communal overt act of negligence."

Katina R. Beard, MSPH, chief executive officer, Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center, Inc.

"We Refuse to Be Silent: Women's Voices on Justice for Black Men is a brilliant collection of essays edited by Angela P. Dodson, which shines a much-needed light on the injustices Black men face daily in our society. Written from the perspective of Black women who witness the physical violence and psychological trauma that Black men routinely endure, this anthology adroitly lays out the impact of police brutality in ways that very few compilations master."

Bonnie Newman Davis, author of Truth Tellers: The Power and Presence of Black Women Journalists Since 1960

"The contributors to this anthology include academics, artists, and journalists. Indeed, the women are accomplished. Yet their status does not protect them from traumas of losing Black male family members to violence. Among eight themed chapters, 'Special Circumstances,' as in special needs, is a reminder about misunderstood targets. Mothers stand daily watch for trouble. We Refuse to Be Silent is a code-red call for solutions."

Wayne Dawkins, professor of professional practice, Morgan State University, and author of Black Journalists: The NABJ Story

"A gripping, thought-provoking, relevant anthology, We Refuse to Be Silent challenges readers to examine race and police violence in a unique way--through the eyes of dozens of extraordinary women, who are desperate for solutions."

Karen Gray Houston, author of Daughter of the Boycott: Carrying On a Montgomery Family's Civil Rights Legacy

"Angela Dodson's literary mastery captures the words, fears, and pain of Black women who find all three stuck in their throats each time we're told of another murder of our Black men, boys, and children. We Refuse to Be Silent is a must-read."

Paula Madison, author Finding Samuel Lowe and principal owner of The Africa Channel


"This collection gathers contributions from over 35 women writers and thinkers about the pervasive violence Black men experience in their daily lives."

The New York Times

"Timely and relevant, informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking."

Midwest Book Review

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506491110
  • eBook ISBN 9781506491127
  • Dimensions 6.25 x 9.25
  • Pages 350
  • Publication Date April 30, 2024