A Joyous Revolt
Toni Cade Bambara, Writer and Activist
by Linda Janet Holmes
May 2014, 228pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-98711-4
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-0-313-05077-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Toni Cade Bambara was at the forefront of 20th-century black feminist literary movements. Her 1970 anthology The Black Woman challenged the chauvinism of the black community and insisted on allowing black women to speak in their own words. Her writing, film work, and activism amplified the power of black women speaking for themselves and challenged stereotypical black female roles, making Bambara among the first to contribute to the contemporary black feminist movement.

At long last—a book-length biography celebrates Toni Cade Bambara, a seminal literary, cultural, and political figure who was among the most widely read and frequently reviewed of the well-regarded black women writers to emerge in the 1970s.

A Joyous Revolt: Toni Cade Bambara, Writer and Activist is the first-ever, full-length biography of a trailblazing artist who championed black women in her fiction as well as in her life. This incisive study provides a comprehensive treatment of Bambara’s published and unpublished works, and it also documents her emerging vision of her role as an agent of change.

The biography allows readers into the personal life of Bambara, offering personal insights into a woman with a strong public persona and friendships with other celebrated artists of her era. Perhaps most important for those seeking to understand and appreciate Bambara’s legacy, it connects her oeuvre to the context of her experience and places all of her wide-ranging creative work in the context of her singular vision.


  • Interviews with established writers, activists, and film makers worldwide
  • Exclusive access to personal documents previously unavailable for public review or research
Linda Janet Holmes is a writer, independent scholar, and long-time women's health activist. She was coeditor with Cheryl Wall of the anthology Savoring the Salt: The Legacy of Toni Cade Bambara and her short story, "The True Story of Chicken Licken," was included in Bambara's Tales and Stories for Black Folks. An oral historian, Holmes has published extensively on the practices of African American midwives in the South. She received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and was the guest curator of "Reclaiming Midwives," a multimedia exhibition funded by the Ford Foundation at the Smithsonian Institution Anacostia Museum in Washington, DC.


"Holmes. . . has written an insightful, much-needed, and engaging biography of Bambara's life and work. Informative and fun to read . . .the book is well worth reading. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers."—Choice, January 1, 2015
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