Virtual History Book Club: The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs


"This dynamic blend of biography and manifesto centers on Louise Little, Alberta King, and Berdis Baldwin―the mothers of, respectively, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Baldwin―women whose legacies, as Tubbs notes, have been overlooked.


  • Date: 2/2/2022 07:00 PM

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"This dynamic blend of biography and manifesto centers on Louise Little, Alberta King, and Berdis Baldwin―the mothers of, respectively, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Baldwin―women whose legacies, as Tubbs notes, have been overlooked. Using them as a window into the varieties of Black American experience.... Tubbs’s book stands against the women’s erasure, a monument to their historical importance. As Malcolm X put it, 'All our achievements are mom’s.'" ―The New Yorker's "Briefly Noted" column


"This ambitious book reframes African American history, supplying the female Black experience as a much-needed perspective." ―The Washington Post


"Tubbs’s portrait is an intimate narrative that aims to link not only Little, King and Baldwin, but all Black mothers... the intersections she highlights are beautiful." ―The New York Times Book Review


"An engrossing triple biography of Alberta King, mother of Martin Luther King Jr.; Louise Little, mother of Malcom X; and Berdis Baldwin, mother of James Baldwin... Tubbs skillfully draws parallels between each woman’s story, and vividly captures the early years of the civil rights movement. This immersive history gives credit where it’s long overdue."―Publishers Weekly


"Tubbs does a masterful job of interweaving the facts of these women’s lives into the evolving social and political histories of civil rights, including accounts of the horrific injustices suffered by women of color."―Booklist (starred review)


"Tubbs's connection to these women is palpable on the page ― as both a mother and a scholar of the impact Black motherhood has had on America. Through Tubbs's writing, Berdis, Alberta, and Louise's stories sing. Theirs is a history forgotten that begs to be told, and Tubbs tells it brilliantly."

―Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning


"The Three Mothers is a fascinating exploration into the lives of three women ignored by history after raising sons who helped shape a movement. By tracing the intellectual, political, and emotional strands of each woman’s life, Anna Malaika Tubbs uncovers hidden complexities within black motherhood that illuminate our understanding of the past while also shedding light on the overlooked contributions of black women today. An eye-opening, engrossing read!"

―Brit Bennett, New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Half and The Mothers