Penn State

Jennifer R. Gilley - associate librarian, Penn State New Kensington

Book Title: This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color

Author: Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua, editors

Book Description:

I came to This Bridge the way most of its readers did; not because it was required reading in a course, or because it was prominent in bookstores, but by word of mouth. I had a friend in college who highly recommended it, despite the fact that she did not normally read for pleasure or recommend books to others. The book spoke to her on a personal level, which is its power for everyone who reads it. This Bridge is a collection of powerfully personal essays, poems, interviews, and manifestos written by women of color in resistance to the silencing of their voices in the largely white feminist movement of the time (1981) and to the sexism and homophobia in the movements of people of color at the time. Their point of departure is an insistence on wholeness, not carving up the parts of their beings (woman/lesbian/Latina/working class) for the benefit of various political groups.

This Bridge shaped my worldview by teaching me the true meaning of radical, which is “at the root.” What does it mean to be radical? To see all things as interconnected. Any attempt to wipe out one type of oppression must take all types of oppression into consideration. Attempts to change society for the better must be holistic, or are doomed to fail.

This Bridge, despite being published by small independent presses and frequently going out of print, significantly influenced the feminist movement post-1981 and is now considered a landmark book. Its existence is a testament to the necessity and power of alternative publishing. Thus, the book has become central to my life once again as I have decided to research the history of feminist publishing.

Long live El Mundo Zurdo!

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