Often experienced but rarely theorized, black feminist activism can be exhausting and the emotional labor debilitating. Yet often in the name of being “good” and “strong” black women who are “down” for the cause and our people, we keep going even when it hurts. Doing so continues the legacy of domination by relentlessly caring for others at the expense of ourselves. To protect and preserve our physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health as black women, we must ask: How can we repurpose our strength to lead and support demonstrations against social injustices without continually sacrificing our wellbeing? Focused on summer 2014, I explore how the aftermath of my mother's death and living amid the fires of Ferguson, MO—linked to the killing of Michael Brown—sparked the realization that self-care is critical for black feminist survival.
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