Reviewed by Artress Bethany White
I, like many Americans, recently read that Erica Garner, the daughter of slain African American police suspect, Eric Garner, died shortly after giving birth. She named her son Eric, after her father who was killed in a street bust for selling loose cigarettes. In the aftermath of her father’s death, Erica became an outspoken activist. In turn, her sudden death at the age of twenty-seven, after becoming a new mother, foregrounds the price many people of color pay for striving to survive in America.
African American women are not a monolith, and the stories of black female survival are varied and complex. Camille Dungy’s Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History (W. W. Norton and Company, 2017) joins the current roster of black women’s memoir on an enthusiastic upbeat. In it, she chronicles a broad swath through the demands of motherhood, the writing life, and travel as lived life and survival tale. (More …)