Professor Charity Elder contends that there is no better time to be a Black woman in America in her first book titled, Power: The Rise of Black Women in America.
Elder reveals that success is an inherent trait in Black women. After pairing data compiled from the US Census–including growth of median wages, college attendance and professional and managerial roles–and national polling focused on Black women’s view on personal successes, she found that 70% of Black women in America say they are successful or have it within their power to succeed.
Elder not only focuses on data, but real stories–both personal and historical–to help reframe and shape what it means to be a Black woman today. Referencing the uptick in books detailing Black women, their stories and their “firsts,” Elder acknowledges the importance of those stories but says Power emphasizes intentionality and how to recognize–then use–personal power in everyday life.
Elder utilizes the phrase “living a lemonade lifestyle,” to illustrate her main point. She explains that by taking the bitter lemons thrust on Black women from white supremacy, the patriarchy, colonialism, imperialism and capitalism, Black women now possess the “secret sauce” to turn that bitterness into sweet lemonade.
The recipe, she says, is composed of four parts: foremothers, the sisterhood, ingrained creativity and a vast community of faith.
“My goal is really to encourage Black women and propel them forward. To let them know that despite oppressions…we have not been broken, and in fact, we are rising,” said Elder.
While Elder recognizes the continuing struggle and the impossibility of perfection, her aim centers on building a community and achieving goals despite setbacks.
“It isn’t about us doing some miracle work for somebody else, because we’ve been doing that for too long,” Elder said. “It’s time we reorient our focus to how we create lives of meaning and joy.”
Power: The Rise of Black Women in America can be purchased here.
For more information and to attend future book events, see Charity Elder’s website here.