‘Why We Still Love Zora’: Irma McClaurin on PBS Documentary ‘Claiming a Space’ and Zora Neale Hurston’s Legacy

PBS’ American Experience premieres documentary film on pioneering writer and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). Directed by Tracy Heather Strain, Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming a Space is the first film to explore Hurston’s life and ethnographic work in great detail.

“Anthropology only started looking at the literary styles of novels and non-scholarly writing in the late ’80s. But Zora had already been there and done that,” said Irma McClaurin, Black feminist poet, anthropologist and Hurston expert.

In ‘The Third Reconstruction,’ Peniel E. Joseph Outlines the U.S. Struggle for Racial Justice in the 21st Century

In recent months, historians have clashed over whether history should be used as a tool for the politics of the present. But Peniel E. Joseph’s latest work, The Third Reconstruction: America’s Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century demonstrates that not only is the personal political, but the past is too.

Joseph argues the dynamics of the present are never truly knowable until we anchor them to the contours of the past. This means to look at the Black women and queer Black people who have guided movements for social justice throughout American history.

December 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, we provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

I want to do my part in the disruption of the “norm” in the book world for far too long—white, cis, heterosexual, male—and to amplify indie publishers and amazing works by writers who are women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, APIA/AAPI, international, queer, trans, nonbinary, disabled, fat, immigrant, Muslim, neurodivergent, sex-positive or of other historically marginalized identities. You know … the rest of us.

‘Freda’ Is the Film We Need Now

Because Haiti is in the news again, we are bombarded with stories about unrelenting political turmoil, destabilizing unrest and crippling poverty.

Set in contemporary Port-au-Prince, Gessica Généus’s film Freda affirms that not only do Haitian women exist, but that their existence is replete with complexity and beauty. A feminist film in every way, Freda’s commitment to the female characters especially asks us to carefully consider what we look for when we see Haitian women.

When Women Were King

The Woman King, a new film starring Viola Davis, reclaims the narrative of the fiercely resistant African “Amazons.”

“My hope is that young African-descended girls and women see themselves in these powerful women. I hope they too will aspire for greatness.”

Learning From and Leaning Into Juneteenth

What does Juneteenth mean to me, to you, to us today? Long before corporate decisions to recognize Juneteenth, Black people in this country were joyfully and jubilantly celebrating this day in our own way.

As a feminist scholar, I marvel at Black women’s pivotal role in Juneteenth celebrations. It reminds me that Black women have always been architects of freedom.

Care Workers Are Essential. It’s Time to Build a Caring Economy.

When crises strike, we turn to our friends, families and sometimes even complete strangers to provide an extra set of caring and supporting hands. Care workers have always played an essential role in our communities, from assisting with child care to providing professional support to the elderly.

Our government has a once in a generation opportunity to pass policies that would support fair pay and dignified work conditions for caregivers, investing in the essential caregiving economy.

Under Biden, Cruelty Towards Asylum Seekers Persists

Anti-immigrant politicians and pundits continue to accuse Biden of promoting open borders, even as he pursues the most restrictionist border policies in recent history. This is not a constituency the president will likely ever satisfy.

It is long past time for the Biden administration to honor its promises and establish a safe, fair and humane asylum process for people fleeing danger.