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When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black…

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Asha Bandele

Other authors: Angela Davis (Foreword)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2421770,835 (4.41)58

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» See also 58 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
The title of this book is a bit misleading- it isn’t really about the BLM movement so much as it is about her motivations in starting it. This is a memoir detailing her family’s struggles with the legal system and the police in particular. Some of it is heartbreaking, but it helps you get a better sense of what the movement is fighting for. A lot of her personal background with respect to her family relationships and her partners is also included. ( )
  redwritinghood38 | Nov 6, 2018 |
So so good. ( )
  LinzFG | Oct 20, 2018 |
Best for: Those who enjoy deeply personal memoirs.

In a nutshell: Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors shares the story of her life so far, including her work as an activist, artist, and founder of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Worth quoting:
“For us, law enforcement had nothing to do with protecting and serving, but controlling and containing the movement of children.”
“My father attended schools that did little more than train him to serve another man’s dreams, ensure another man’s wealth, produce another man’s vision.”
“What is the impact of not being valued?”
“No isolated acts of decency could wholly change an organization that became an institution that was created not to protect but to catch, control and kill us.”

Why I chose it: I enjoy memoirs, and I feel like I don’t know enough about the woman who started the Black Lives Matter movement.

Lollygagger’s Review:
At times over the past five years, it can seem that Black Lives Matter spontaneously erupted out of the anger at police violence against Black men, women and children. But BLM didn’t just appear from the ether; it was created by three Black women: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, and Opal Tometi. These women have stories that deserve to be shared, and this book provides insight into the lives of one of these women.

The subheading “A Black Lives Matter Memoir” might suggest that there will be a heavy emphasis on the time in 2013 when the movement began. And that definitely gets coverage, but this book is more about Ms. Khan-Cullors’s life and how that leads to the movement. She shares so much of herself — her pain, her joy, her love, her anger. Some memoirs scratch the surface and present something that feels a bit false. Not here. Ms. Khan-Cullors is vulnerable, and poetic, and unapologetic. She describes experiences that no one should have to go through, making it clear that these experiences are not unique to her.

This book contains so much more than its 250 pages suggest. The writing is fantastic, in a style I am not used to. I’d almost call it flowery, but that implies the words are superfluous. It’s not that. It’s almost lyrical, poetic and times. Ms. Khan-Cullors (with co-author bandele) covers interactions with the police (her own interactions, and interactions her families and friends have), what it is like to have a parent in prison, what it is like to have a sibling with mental illness who is tortured by the prison system. What it is like to not be heard, and what it is like to find a way to fight back. ( )
  ASKelmore | Aug 28, 2018 |
The author is one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement.

She vividly recounts her childhood, where black teenagers and men in her neighborhood were routinely questioned and harassed by police. She also describes how her father was in and out of prison, destabilizing the family.

The final straw, however, was when her brother, diagnosed with bipolar disorder but off his medicine, was in a minor traffic accident. Because he yelled at the other driver, a white woman, he was charged with terroristic activity and imprisoned.

She vividly explores the prison system, with its over-representation of black men.

“Prisoners are valuable. They not only work for pennies for the corporate brands our people love so much, but they also provide jobs for mostly poor white people, replacing the jobs lost in rural communities. Poor white people who are chosen to be guards. They run the motels in prison towns where families have to stay when they make 11 hour drives into rural corners of the state. They deliver the microwave food we have to buy from the prison vending machines.” p 44

“There are more people with mental health disorders in prison than in all of the psychiatric hospitals in the United States added up. In 2015, the Washington Post reported that
'American prisons and jails housed an estimated 356,258 [people] with severe mental illness. . . [a] figure [that] is more than 10 times the number of mentally ill patients in state psychiatric hospitals [in 2012, the last year for reliable data] . . . about 35,000 people.'
” p 61

And finally, she recounts how she herself, was labeled as a terrorist and had police bursting into her quiet home due to her work in organizing Black Lives Matter.

This is an eye, opening, important book; it's another one very valuable for those wanting to get beyond their white bubble and have a better understanding of black life in America today. ( )
1 vote streamsong | Jul 25, 2018 |
This is a memoir and is written pretty much chronologically, but does skip around quite a bit. The title says "A Black Lives Matter Memoir," but the story doesn't cover a lot about that movement. What it does give is a deep understanding of why Patrisse Khan-Cullors co-founded the movement. It's not an easy story to hear, but after hearing some of the negative talk about the movement, I am thankful to find this book to hear the thoughts of someone very deeply involved, someone who knows a lot about it. I didn't count the words most used in the book, but "love" might be the one most frequently seen of the nouns and verbs. Of note is that women and people the LGBTQ community have been very much involved in BLM. ( )
  ajlewis2 | Jul 11, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrisse Khan-Cullorsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bandele, Ashamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, AngelaForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evmeshkin, AntonArtist, cover and endpaperssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Templeton, RobinProofreadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.

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A memoir by the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement explains the movement's position of love, humanity, and justice, challenging perspectives that have negatively labeled the movement's activists while calling for essential political changes."A poetic and powerful memoir about what it means to be a Black woman in America--and the founding of a movement that demands restorative justice for all in the land at the tree Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood In Los Angeles, Patrisse KhanCullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin's killer went free, Patrisse's outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin. Championing human rights in the face of violent racism, Patrisse is a survivor. She transformed her personal pain into political power, giving voice to a people suffering inequality and a movement fueled by her strength and love, to tell the country--and the world--that Black Lives Matter. [This book] is Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele's reflection on humanity. It is an empowering account of survival, strength and resilience and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable."--Dust jacket.… (more)

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