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Modern HERstory
Cover of Modern HERstory
Modern HERstory
Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History
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An inspiring and radical celebration of 70 women, girls, and gender nonbinary people who have changed—and are still changing—the world, from the Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall riots through Black Lives Matter and beyond.
With a radical and inclusive approach to history, Modern HERstory profiles and celebrates seventy women and nonbinary champions of progressive social change in a bold, colorful, illustrated format for all ages. Despite making huge contributions to the liberation movements of the last century and today, all of these trailblazers come from backgrounds and communities that are traditionally overlooked and under-celebrated: not just women, but people of color, queer people, trans people, disabled people, young people, and people of faith. Authored by rising star activist Blair Imani, Modern HERstory tells the important stories of the leaders and movements that are changing the world right here and right now—and will inspire you to do the same.
An inspiring and radical celebration of 70 women, girls, and gender nonbinary people who have changed—and are still changing—the world, from the Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall riots through Black Lives Matter and beyond.
With a radical and inclusive approach to history, Modern HERstory profiles and celebrates seventy women and nonbinary champions of progressive social change in a bold, colorful, illustrated format for all ages. Despite making huge contributions to the liberation movements of the last century and today, all of these trailblazers come from backgrounds and communities that are traditionally overlooked and under-celebrated: not just women, but people of color, queer people, trans people, disabled people, young people, and people of faith. Authored by rising star activist Blair Imani, Modern HERstory tells the important stories of the leaders and movements that are changing the world right here and right now—and will inspire you to do the same.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book INTRODUCTION

    When I was twelve years old, I realized that making a difference can be as simple as fighting for what you believe in, unapologetically living in your truth, or taking steps to improve the lives of others. I was fortunate to grow up with the constant encouragement from family and community members that I could realize the change I wanted to see in the world. Every one of us has the potential to make an indelible mark on our world; however, the stories of the ordinary heroes responsible for the most important social changes in history are often obscured. Studying history in college, I learned that it is usually written by those who have the most privilege and the most power. As a result, the contributions of diverse groups are often overlooked or erased, while those in power who uphold the status quo are praised as heroes.

    Throughout history, diverse trailblazing individuals have been subjected to this erasure. For example, voting rights activist and civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer frequently goes unacknowledged in conversations about the Civil Rights Movement. Fannie Lou was a black woman born and raised in rural Mississippi, and she survived the violent oppressions faced by countless black women in the American South. After being fired from her job as a sharecropper simply because she registered to vote, she went on to dedicate her entire life to fighting for the rights of black people to direct their own futures. Fannie Lou was arrested and beaten for attempting to exercise rights, like voting, that America claims to promise to all its people. Similarly, few people are aware of the legacy of Chinese American experimental physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, a key contributor to the World War II–era American research initiative known as the Manhattan Project. The Nobel Prize for her award-winning and eponymous Wu Experiment was given to her male colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang in 1957, despite the fact she developed it. Two transgender activists of color, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, helped define the present state of LGBTQ rights organizing in the United States; however, their contributions continue to go unacknowledged within the LGBTQ community. Even a film documenting the historic event at which Sylvia and Marsha gained prominence, the 1969 Stonewall Riots, erased the presence of transgender women of color, instead centering the stories of white gay cisgender men.

    While "history" focuses on men and the stories of patriarchs, "herstory" deliberately prioritizes the stories of women, people of color, and LGBTQ people.

    ***
About the Author-
  • BLAIR IMANI is a black queer American Muslim activist. She is the founder and executive director of Equality for HER, a nonprofit educational platform for feminine-identifying individuals. As a political journalist and commentator, she has appeared on Fox News and MSNBC, and has guest lectured at Yale and Harvard Universities. She has written for the Huffington Post and VICE and has been featured in Nylon,Teen Vogue, Salon, Broadly, VICE, This American Life, The 405, Public Radio International, and Bustle.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2018
    A collection that chronicles the stories of 70 diverse women, girls, and nonbinary people from the 20th and 21st centuries from many traditionally underrepresented groups. A compilation of single-page biographical sketches accompanied by striking full-color portraits, this book focuses on individuals who have all played or are currently playing a part in rewriting history and revolutionizing the way we view and navigate the world. Some, such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Jazz Jennings, will be well-known to young readers. Others, such as Patsy Takemoto Mink, a Japanese-American woman who broke racial and gender barriers when she was elected to Congress in 1964, are historically significant advocates for equity and inclusion who are frequently overlooked in traditional texts. This book is an important introduction to social justice work, specifically that which pertains to racial, sexual, religious, and ableist discrimination and oppression. It provides a quick and accessible reference source for anyone interested in how change can be effected from various levels, from the academic front to grass-roots movements. It will show readers that activists are not monolithic and that they themselves are never too young, small, or different to work toward change. A crucial message of inclusivity and sensitivity is present throughout.This engaging work is about movers and shakers--folks who made moves and shook up the status quo for the betterment of all. (glossary, biographies, organizations, hashtags, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 1, 2018
    Queer Muslim American activist Imani presents the stories of 70 activists, leaders, and influencers. Imani “deliberately prioritize the stories of women, people of color, and LGBTQ people” included, who range broadly in terms of ages, professions, and backgrounds, as well as “abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities.” An opening chapter focuses on such figures as “trailblazing” NASA scientists Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan, while later sections highlight performers, writers, and business leaders, focusing significantly on lesser-known people, among them Feminista Jones, activist and mental health social worker; Vilissa Thompson, advocate for people with disabilities; and Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, founder of Sapelo Square, a resource for black Muslim Americans. The book thoughtfully contextualizes the work of each individual, supplying readers with a shared vocabulary through which to discuss issues of social activism and women’s liberation. A lively collective portrait of passionate, pioneering women and nonbinary people. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 12–up.

  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2018

    Activist, journalist, and founder of the nonprofit Equality for HER, Imani's book is one we need during the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements. What differentiates her work from many of the memoirs and gender studies published since the 2016 election is her ability to explain dispassionately what systemic oppression is--and how, if we are to comprehend the significance of women and nonbinary people such as those profiled here, we must consider intersectionality and the institutional barricades concomitant to all forms of discrimination. With an introduction by indie pop singers Tegan and Sara, along with an extensive glossary including hashtags, this volume is designed to create conversations young feminists wish to have with their family. It's accessible yet theoretically sophisticated and filled with sketches of foundational figures, movement leaders, and various kinds of people involved in a revolution against dominant discourse. VERDICT This collection would be a welcome addition to any introductory women's, gender, and sexuality studies course. It should also be shared among feminists and the those passionate about fighting oppression based on class, disability, gender, race, and sexuality.--Emily Bowles, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    Although you may listen to Rihanna's songs, did you know she supports the Clara Lionel Foundation and several other charities? Are you aware that Geraldine Roman is the first openly transgender elected official in the history of the Philippines? Or that Winnie Harlow is contributing to conversations on positive body image? Imani offers short profiles of more than 50 modern women and nonbinary people. Some, such as Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and Serena Williams, may be more familiar to teens, while other entries will be introductions to the courageous work of revolutionaries creating change through blogs, campaigns, and businesses. This is an excellent source for those interested in current biographies and hashtag movements. Burgeoning activists will be inspired and may gain a better understanding of their power in the world. VERDICT This quick read is recommended for browsable nonfiction collections.-Pamela Schembri, Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua NY

    Copyright 1 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History
Blair Imani
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