Sojourning for Freedom by Erik S. McDuffie

Sojourning for Freedom creates “new” history and new perspectives of Black women that epitomizes them as the trailblazers and warriors they rightfully deserve to be.

     To many African-Americans, Communism has long been associated with a domineering government, McCarthyism, and fear. Miniscule comprehensive information is given to readers regarding how Communism relates to their cultural experiences. Eric McDuffie’s Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Feminism provides a detailed account of the achievements, struggles, and significance of Black female Communist warriors and their often discounted contributions to the black liberation movement. McDuffie utilizes personal papers, civic club records, historical papers such as The New York Age, The Messenger, and the Atlanta Daily World, and interviews to argue “the Communist Left provided a theoretical and empirical template for appreciating how the international Left served as a key site where black women in the United Stated forged an innovative radical black feminist politics during the early and mid-twentieth century” (McDuffie, 3).  McDuffie’s text seeks to recover and define “Black Left Feminism” – “a brand of feminist politics that centers working-class women by combining black Nationalist and American Community Party positions on race, gender, and class with black women radicals’ own lived experiences” (McDuffie, 3). Bringing light to lesser known Black Left Feminists, such as Louise Thompson Patterson, Thyra Edwards, and Grace P. Campbell, and the triple oppression they faced from black men and members of the CPUSA, this text serves as a “conceptual framework” to the identity politics of Black Left Feminists during the twentieth century (McDuffie, 3). McDuffie has several intentions for this book. His first goal is to illustrate the Black communist woman’s relationship to Black radicalism during the Old Left Period. He also aims to define the Black communist woman and how she influenced feminists of the 1970s and 1980s. Lastly, McDuffie emphasizes the familial, mental, spiritual, and internal pains Black women endured as activists in the communist movement.
The Sojourners, the Black Left Feminists McDuffie honors in his text, not only predate, but also craft many of the ideas associated with black feminism of the 1980s. Claudia Jones’s 1949 essay “An End to the Neglect of the Problems of the Negro Woman” is a pinnacle accomplishment of Black Left Feminists that includes several arguments made by later and more known feminists groups such as the Combahee River Collective. Claudia Jones essay outlines the “triple oppression” black women face regarding race, sex, and class during the Cold War era. This triple oppression permeated majority of the grassroots efforts led by the Sojourners during the twentieth century. Through literary works such as Jones’s essay, Black Left Feminists sought to force their visibility not only to the CPUSA and the white population, but their black male counterparts as well (McDuffie, 167). Jones’s theory of triple oppression would later evolve into Kimberle Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality in the late 1900s. McDuffie characterizes the work of these specific women as “community feminism”. One can appropriately utilize Ula Taylor’s definition of community feminism to describe McDuffie’s Sojourners. Taylor contends community feminists are “women who may or may not live in a coverture relationship [. . .] their activism discerns the configuration of oppressive power relations, shatters masculinist claims of women as intellectually inferior, and seeks to empower women by expanding their roles and options” (Taylor, 64). These women continued to break barriers with their activism engaging in activities not commonly paralleled with women: from joining men in the stepladder circuit to leading “The Revolt of the Housewives” demanding the prices of meat decrease (McDuffie, 40 & 1). Through these heroic acts, Black Left Feminists served as examples of progressive leadership in their communities while disrupting power relations and demystifying gender roles. Additionally, their communities included more than the inner city of Harlem. Black Left Feminist leaders traveled internationally, broadening their scope of community to include everyone who believed in their values and were willing to fight for their cause. Trips to Spain and the Soviet Union, in some cases unsupervised, illustrates the determination of the Sojourners to expand the opportunities for women, even outside the United States.
McDuffie’s text introduces critical concepts and perspectives in the ever-evolving and fluid Feminist discourse. The integration of community feminism, black female radicalism, and “oppositional consciousness” are all relevant to current black socio-economic movements. With an increase in coverage of police brutality and focus on identity politics in the LGBTQ community, black women and their struggles are often lost in both academic and community liberation efforts. Sojourning for Freedom provides not only historical context, but action-steps black women can take in their own communities to increase political visibility and efficiency in activism. It is particularly essential that scholars utilize each other’s definitions to create consistency and validity in theories and definitions. McDuffie’s integration of Ula Taylor’s definition of community activism increases his text’s scholastic relevancy and the ability to cross-reference feminist strategies in future research. While the research for this specific text is very thorough and highlights several unknown Sojourners of the Communist movement, it leaves readers wondering what other unknown Sojourners lie in the crevices of historical movements. McDuffie suggests there is always a group of people who serve as outliers in every movement and new research must be done to bring them to the surface. This fact highlights why there are few texts on the subject of black female communism or communist movements. Black Communists Speak on Scottsboro: A Documentary History by Walter Howard brings light to a smaller subsection of this text concerning Black Communists involvement in the Scottsboro Boys case. Black Internationalist Feminism: Women Writers of the Black Left, 1945-1995 by Cheryl Higashida can serve as a complementary text to Sojourning for Freedom, however, contextually, there are few texts that focus on Black Left Feminists.
The biographical information and the level of research it took to develop the lives and work of these women for such an extensive amount of time, is much appreciated. Biographical sketches assist readers in contextualizing the actions and thinking of an individual in a much more comprehensive lens. With Feminist scholarship on the rise, McDuffie’s biographical sketches add historical context to the characteristics and work ethic of Black Feminists. Feminism does not belong to a certain ethnic or racial group, a specific portion of the world or socio-economic status.


Jalyn Gordon

Afrocentric Organization adviser

To purchase this book please click link below:

McDuffie, Erik S. Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011.

YSF Catering Co.

If you are looking for a good home cooked meal on the go or catering for your next big event look no further Houston. YSF Catering Co. is a Black Owned Business with quality food and customer service. YSF Catering Co. puts their heart and soul into every meal that is prepared. I have had a great experience ordering lunch from this wonderful establishment. The food is exceptional and the service is nothing short of family vibes. You have the option to pick up your food if you stay near or you can have it delivered personally to you home or work place. All forms of payment are accepted and YSF even adjust the order to fit my none pork or beef life style. All in all I support YSF 100% and look forward to ordering even more delicious food.

Immediately after graduating from Lamar University with a B.S. from the Lamar culinary program Zoia Taylor started the business with her partner Jamilah Thompkins. I have had the pleasure of attending college with this beautiful soul and order a meal or 2 myself. YSF Catering Co. will be celebrating their 1 year anniversary December 6th and they aren’t showing any signs of stopping.

For Order Vist Their Facebook Page here.

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I’ve had the pleasure of ordering from Naturotica numerous times and the consistency keeps me coming back for more. All of the products I buy are organic in every sense and I make it a point to order from businesses that are centered around just that. Naturotica and the sister brands Nene Organics and Yoni Poppin are the only brands I trust when it comes to feminine health and hygiene. The products are organic and vegan based; when shipped to you the owner Nerissa Irving provides facts about the products you purchase as well as useful tips. Naturiotica offers products such as: Yoni Steams, Yoni Eggs, PH balancing body wash, PH balancing feminine spray, Waist Beads, Skin care products, and Hair care products (locing products as well), and much more. Ordering the products online is a piece of cake and products take less than a week to arrive at your doorstep. Below I have listed the products I have purchased thus far.  




Traditional Waist Beads ( Click For Full Image)

Menstrual Cup ( Squeeze Drain) 

The menstrual cup I purchased allows you to drain the cup without having to remove the cup itself. The cup is  soft silicone which allows to be manipulated with ease to fit snuggle inside the vagina. The is a slight sensation when you first insert the cup however it subsides after 2 mins or less. I prefer to wear the cup over tampons or passed now because it is more sanitary. It also puts me more at ease and is comfortable to wear. The first day you have to empty frequently to prevent it overflowing however that is not an issue. It helps me stay more mindful during this time. To purchase menstrual cup, see benefits and more (click here)


Feminine Spray

The rose water and lavender blend last majority of the day and smells really refreshing. I also noticed on extremely hot and humid days it prevents excessive sweating as well. You do notice a change in your PH balance.


Yoni Egg ( Drilled)

The yoni egg I ordered is the African Blood Stone Crystal that holds some amazing properties and benefits. When I first used the yoni egg I was very nervous however Nerissa Irving provided me with instructions and her social media outlets carry alot of information. Since using the yoni egg and frequently doing kegels my menstrual cycle is lighter and I experience less harsh cramps sometimes none at all after the first day and a half. As of now my yoni eggs acts as a crystal more than a kegel tool. The drill is in place to add a string in case you would like to add small weights to strength your muscles.  (Click Here) for more information on yoni eggs.




Rock My Soul By Bell Hooks


Overall, though, there is a mental health crisis in African American life. This crisis is most deeply felt around the issue of self esteem.

Rock My Soul is a must read for women and men of color. The context of this book is that of the times we currently live in today. Bell Hooks forces us to visit our past and analyse our present state. Rock My Soul gives a new way to look at self esteem that involves owning who we are and what we believe. Read Bell Hooks plants tiny seeds within us to help us grow such as:

Stay true to self.

Heal from the past.

Let go of false beliefs 



Mental health is one of many issue in the African American Community that is highly ignored or overemphasized depending on the subject matter. Bell Hooks openly talks about this topic 15 years ago in The Essence Bestseller: Rock My Soul; in a time when the subject was very sensitive yet just as relevant as it is today. The author creates a parallel between mental health and self esteem forcing us to take a look not alone within but back in time as well. Shedding light on the reality many of us ignore. Whether we come come from wealth or the slums,  have several degrees or none, and a good pay job or unemployed; our self esteem as well as mental health is at risk. Bell Hooks forces us to look at ourselves in the mirror. Not only as an individual but as a community. She breaks down each political movement and institutional structure explaining how it continues damage our psyche from past and present generations. The author also shares how we play a role in the shattering of our mental health and how we can heal ourselves collectively. It is almost as though the author is challenging us to recall the things that uplifted up physically, mental, and spiritually. And to throw away the things we are clinging to. She does this by calling our attention to some key factors we may have been over looking in chapters such as; Refusing to be the victim, Spiritual Redemption, Living with integrity, and Inner Wounds just to name a few.

Peace and Blessing,
My thoughts my views, Share with me, vibe with me
– Rose 


By Book Here 

Rose’s Story by Wanda “Rose’ Bibb

The Review:

Rose’s Story serves as a informational guide in the form of an autobiography. Taking us on an emotional ride through her life growing up in the system; Rose’s Story is a book that every social worker, teacher, and health care worker should read. Many may say this book is not relatable. I would argue that this is not the books intent. Rather the intent is to peel your eyes back and receive the truth about many of our government assistance programs as well as the facts about mental health.

Rose has been a victim of the system since she was a child. Suffering from mental and physical ailments she finds herself being funneled through the system all the way into her adulthood.  Only to later realize her father and stepmother are the source the madness that has been surrounding her life; including the reason she has been suffering from her ailments. From a missing mother to sealed documents Rose’s Story becomes a real eye opener.

Rose’s Story presents important questions:

With all of her hospital visits why did it take 38 years to find out her episodes were caused by a heart condition?

Her response “The all thought I was nuts because they thought I went to Chatwood.” 

Should a physical examination be given after 6 month of receiving welfare benefits  ?

Why didn’t anyone check to see if she qualified for help from an outside source?

Why did her father put her in a Mental Institution as a child with adults?


Rose’s Story shows how mental illnesses leave too much room for social workers and doctors to make error. Many people with a mental illness receive little to no  medical assistance and attention from the government; leaving them to be a medical experiment then later sent away or cast aside. We find that much of the medication given to patients causes serious physical and cognitive strain. Rose is the poster child that reveals not only mental illnesses and childhood altercations are tied to medical conditions that go untreated but also the medication given. All of these things which go unnoticed bring on stress and in many cases that is the trigger to medical and psych episodes.

Once Rose was heard she began to heal. Key people she mentioned in the book listened to her after 40+ years later helping her to piece together the puzzle of her life.

Peace and Blessing,

My thoughts my views, Share with me, vibe with me

– Rose 

Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison

The Review:

Invisible Man is a MUST READ! Ralph Ellison rips your mask off and places mirrors all around you. You have no choice but to look yourself in the mirror as you read this amazing piece of literature. You will find yourself asking questions such as:

Am I invisible?

Have I lost my identity within society?

Am I giving my all to something or people who do not appreciate me?

Do I know who am I?

Am I making  difference or wondering?

Invisible Man challenges our minds, hearts, and soul to remain true to ourselves. It helps us realize we do not need to be a part of any and everything to have a voice and make a difference. To also look deeper into things as we move forward to be conscious in each more that we make because there are people who have alternative motives.


  Ralph Ellison centers this story in the late 20’s or perhaps the early 30’s; a nonetheless important and historical time period. He creates a character that is narrating his journey from the South up to the cold streets of Harlem. The narrator remains nameless throughout the duration of the book; even as he receives a new name in Harlem that too remains hidden as he takes on a new role along his journey. A southern college boy who moves to the streets of Harlem under the orders of his college president. This happens only after finding himself in unexplainable chain of events. However, he proves to be very intelligent from a young age. Gifted with the power of speech; he can express himself effortlessly verbally and through writing. Having written a speech  as a young boy it granted him the opportunity to speak at a boxing match. Although this speaking engagement in front of many prestigious and wealthy white men landed him a scholarship to college, he also became drunken entertainment himself.

    The rise and fall of the black man some may call it. Perhaps even the rise and fall of the black community. When proven to be special everyone has a plan for you. An idea of how you should act and execute things. The narrator was often thrown into situations that forced him to conform to others expectations, beliefs, lifestyles, and even stereotypes. All following the illusions of success or being wanted. It is aware he is needed but under strict stipulations and control. In each setting he lost a piece of who he was before understanding himself and his purpose in society. The narrator slowly became blind to the truth do to others complacency, greed, and ideology.He was invisible due to compromising his sense of self morphing into what others saw him as. Wondering through life with no true identity. Serving no help to himself ,his community, and /or the people. He began to question his beliefs and who to trust  by the end of the book becoming lost and isolated. Finding himself in a hole figuratively, literally, and spiritually.

Remain true to you!

Peace and Blessing,
My thoughts my views, Share with me, vibe with me
– Rose 


By Book Here