The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of MLK, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Tubbs
Much has been written about the Berdis Baldwin's son James, about Alberta King's son Martin, and Louise Little's son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them, who themselves were all born within six years of each other, all contending with the very specific prejudices faced by Black women during Jim Crow.
Berdis, Alberta, and Louise all possessed an unrelenting belief in education—from Louise asking her children to read to her from the dictionary, to Berdis’s faith and encouragement in her son’s preternaturally gifted writing, to Alberta’s unwavering dedication to Martin’s higher education. These women used their strength and motherhood to push their sons toward greatness, all with a conviction that all human beings deserve dignity and respect despite the rampant racism of the 20th century.
These three mothers taught resistance and a fundamental belief in the worth of black Americans to their sons, even when these beliefs flew in the face of America’s racist practices and led to ramifications for all three families’ safety. The fight for equal justice and dignity came above all else for the three mothers.
These women, their similarities and differences, as individuals and as mothers, represent a piece of history left untold and a celebration of black motherhood long overdue.