From the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing comes a new book of narrative in verse that takes a personal and historical look at the experience of Black girlhood. In the American imagination the contrasts between visibility and invisibility for Black girlhood are glaring. A recent report by the African American Policy Forum states that while Black girls make up only 16% of the female students in schools, they make up half of school-related arrests, and further studies show that Black girls are the fastest growing population in the juvenile justice system. And when Black girls are not viewed as criminal, their visibility seems to be eroding or disappearing.
Through the eyes and stories of prominent Black female figures from Zora Neale Hurston to Riley Curry and Michelle Obama, and with an homage to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Breath Better Spent beautifully and trenchantly captures the culture of Black girlhood and its changing relationship to American culture, exploring the highly visible and invisible spaces that Black girls occupy, from school, to home, to others’ imaginations, and proceeds to question the disappearance—metaphorically and literally—of Black girls from the American imagination. Powerfully drawing on both history and her own experiences, Hill brings to life the vitality, creativity, and strength of Black girlhood while shining a light on a crisis we cannot ignore.