Anna Malaika Tubbs on the inspiration behind Civil Rights icons

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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Author Anna Malaika Tubbs began looking into the mothers of some of the most notable Civil Rights icons and found their influence, activism and contributions to history largely ignored.

Tubbs is the author of “Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation.”

“I got excited about the concept of telling the story of the women before the man,” said Tubbs

Tubbs said the more she found out, it was obvious that there were direct connections between each of the sons works and their mother’s passions, talents and experiences.

The Scholar and Cambridge University sociology doctoral candidate penned the biography, The Three Mothers, as she became a mother herself.

Tubbs says she identified with the women in some ways as a Black women and as the wife of former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.

“I, so often in my own personal experiences, was referred to as the woman behind the great man, which I really didn’t find to be a compliment, you know I’m right there beside him,” Tubss said. “I’m not behind him, you know. We just have to pay more attention to women of color. “

The biography takes readers through the lives of Alberta Kind, Louis Little and Berdis Baldwin.

“The movements do not just pop up out of nowhere. They don’t just start with one person, it’s a paer of this generational passing of knowledge,” Tubbs said.

Tubbs believes the roles the three women played in the civil rights movement has been all but erased from history.

“We often talk about Malcolm X’s father being an organizer but it is a complete crime to erase the fact that his mom was also an organizer and even after her husband is murdered by a white supremacist group, she continues her activism,” Tubbs said.

In the book, Tubbs lays out how much each woman influenced their famous sons, who we still revere today.

“I have letters in the book where Malcolm X thanks his mother for everything that she taught him and his activism and his approach to Black freedom,” Tubbs said.

Scholar, activist, wife and mother, Tubbs hopes her book will inspire other to flush out the contributions of other women who have been relegated to the footnotes of history.

“I do think that that the eraser and this kind of disregard of our lives has much more to do with how we value women of color, generally in our society and it’s something that I’m hoping can continue to change,” Tubbs said.

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