Black Women Who Dared is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that tells the stories of 10 incredible women and groups of women who stood up to discrimination, racism and sexism and organized for the rights of immigrants and LGBTQ communities. The stories date from 1793 to the present day.
The women and women’s collectives in this book are exemplary role models. Many of the issues they dealt with still exist today. For instance, Jackie Shane left Nashville Tennessee in 1940 because being a Black transgender woman was extremely dangerous. Jackie immigrated to Canada and ended up having a song in the top 10 on Toronto’s CHUM radio station for 20 weeks. Jackie’s groundbreaking story is inspirational and supports the LGBTQ community while dealing with questions of racism and sexism at the same time.
There are many ways to use Black Women Who Dared across the curriculum. In grade seven history, it could be used as a resource for expectation B1.2, “analyze some of the challenges facing individuals, groups, and/or communities, in Canada between 1800 and 1850 and ways in which people responded to those challenges,” and in grade eight history for expectation A3.7, “identify a variety of significant individuals and groups in Canada during this period (1890–1914) and explain their contributions to heritage and/or identities in Canada.” Students could create media, such as posters or slideshows, or use dramatic techniques to create “Heritage Minutes” or portray interviews with the women in Black Women Who Dared.
February is Black History Month and Black Women Who Dared would be a good read aloud for the junior grades, but it could also be used any time of the year to ensure that you are teaching a diverse and inclusive history. Students could write short synopses of the lives and accomplishments of the women and groups in this book and read them on morning announcements.
Naomi M. Moyer has written and illustrated a powerful piece of literature that celebrates the accomplishments of courageous Black women and women’s groups in Canadian history. Black Women Who Dared would be a welcome addition to any elementary school library in Ontario.
Paula Marengeur is a member of the Simcoe County Teacher Local.