In a culture driven by sexual and racial imagery, very few honest conversations about race, gender, and sexuality actually take place. In their absence, commonly held perceptions of black women as teenage mothers, welfare recipients, mammies, or exotic sexual playthings remain unchanged. For fear that telling their stories will fulfill society's implicit expectations about their sexuality, most black women have retreated into silence. Tricia Rose seeks to break this silence and jump-start a dialogue by presenting, for the first time, the sexual testimonies of black women who span a broad range of ages, levels of education, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Both brilliantly conceived and sensitively executed, Longing to Tell is required reading for anyone interested in issues of race and gender.
“A powerful and pioneering work. For the first time we hear the painful and poignant voices of black women in all their humanity and complexity. Do not miss this pathblazing book!” —Cornel West, University Professor of Religion, Princeton University
“Heartbreaking, inspiring, and brutally honest...as compelling as it is sorely needed.” —Publishers Weekly
“[Tricia Rose] reminds us of the transformative power of conversation in her terrific collection of oral histories.... like great conversation, the book is provocative and inspiring....The integration of scholarship and accessible conversation rests largely in Rose's curiosity, her delight in discovery.” —Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Newsweek
“Heartrending stuff...There are gems of stories here, rich details amid tales of heartbreaking loss.” —The Washington Post
“A landmark book...bound to be a classic of its kind: it dispels myths, stereotypes, and tales about black women while giving us the truth in all its glorious and grievous colors.” —Michael Eric Dyson, author of Why I Love Black Women
“If Freud called woman 'the dark continent of man,' then the sexuality of black women has truly been the dark continent of the African-American tradition. To read so very much of African-American literature before 1970 is to presume that black women did not experience sexual intimacy, or even discuss it. This pioneering collection by Tricia Rose is as significant to the African-American autobiographical tradition as the depiction of Janie's evolving sexuality in Their Eyes Were Watching God was to African-American literature.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.