Skip to main content

The Mothers Who Birthed a Movement: An Evening with Anna Malaika Tubbs

On March 8, 2022, Teach For America Greater Chicago-Northwest Indiana had the pleasure of celebrating International Women’s Day by hosting a fireside chat with New York Times Best Selling Author Anna Malaika Tubbs.

By Whitney Stoepel-Brewer

March 22, 2022

The Mothers Who Birthed a Movement: An Evening with Anna Malaika Tubbs

Anna Malika Tubbs gave our community the opportunity to be rooted in the historical truths and stories of Alberta King (Martin Luther King Jr.’s mother), Louise Little (Malcolm X’s mother), and Berdis Baldwin (James Baldwin’s Mother), the mothers who birthed a movement. We learned that these women’s lives didn’t begin when they gave birth to their sons who would become critically influential and historical figures, but that they themselves were involved in activism, freedom dreaming, and community building long before they became mothers. “Many mothers feel that their identity when they become a Mom, whoever they were before, somehow no longer matters to our society, and no one cares any more, or they feel that they have lost themselves. This representation of Mothers is hurtful and inaccurate. We have so much strength in our identity long before children” (Anna Malika Tubbs). It is this strength of the identities of Alberta King, Louis Little, and Berdis Baldwin that is manifested, amplified, and forged into the influential legacy that is still actively working for the collective liberation of all oppressed people. 

During our discussion, Anna stated that “Within our curriculum, it is not only essential that our children see themselves in stories and feel like they are somewhat visibly related but also that they learn stories that counter the hegemonic notion of who the leaders of our stories are.” Women and women of color deserve that “Main Character Energy” as the young folks say, not just for 30 days + Mothers Day, but 365 Days a year. The creativity, abilities, brilliance, ingenuity, and awe-inspiring qualities of women should be embraced. The stories of Alberta King, Louis Little, and Berdis Baldwin are the stories that shape the trajectory of the American Narrative. Our students deserve to see this reflection of themselves at every grade level and subject area.


“Women and women of color deserve that “Main Character Energy.””

Anna Malaika Tubbs

Author, The Three Mothers

We invite you to view the recap video and reflect on the women who laid the ancestral foundation for your life journey and how you continue to build the legacy. In addition, we hope that you take the time to read The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation and reflect on the life journeys of each of these mothers who birthed a movement.