“Dear boys: I found out today that I was going to be a mommy. It took some time for me to believe this because there is nothing that I have done in my life that has prepared me for this moment. I am not sure if I can be the mommy that you deserve to have. How can I mother you when I have not been able to mother myself? How can I give you the tools to survive this brutal world when I have not been able to craft these tools to save myself? How can I stand up for you when my whole life has been spent trying so hard to stand up for myself? I am not perfect. I am flawed. And now, I am pregnant.”
And so begins Karsonya Wise Whitehead’s poignant and heart-wrenching letters to her sons. For fourteen years, she has been charting every step of their development, from the womb through their toddler years and now as teenage boys. She has used their lives as a lens through which to examine and deconstruct the world. From her fears about 9-11 to her conversations with them about the protests in Ferguson, every moment allows the reader to have unique insight into what it means to be a black mother raising black boys in a race-conscious, post-racial America.
Since this is her love for them poured out onto the page, she chose to publish them exactly as they were written-without any edits or corrections. “Letters to My Black Sons” traces her (and her husband’s) journey to try and raise happy and healthy black boys in a post-racial America.