Crooked Room: Stories from New Orleans

April 3, 2015

The Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies has released “Crooked Room: Stories From New Orleans.”

In 2012, as part of IWES’ community based human recovery efforts, IWES conducted Wisdom Circles with fifty five African-American women of varying age and backgrounds. The circles explored how stereotypes, shame, and racism shape their current sense of self-efficacy and agency. These poignant, beautiful and difficult discussions were analyzed and compiled to create the book.

“Crooked Room: Stories from New Orleans” is a compilation of experiences shared by women of the Crescent City, based on Melissa Harris-Perry’s book “Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America.”

From the introduction:

“…how do Black women confront the crooked room while attempting to stand straight and strong? What is upright in a post-disaster city such as New Orleans? … These Wisdom Circles were an attempt to temporarily straighten a room for women in New Orleans to feel whole… As members of a stigmatized group, African American women lack opportunity for accurate, affirming recognition of self and hence, true participation in the democratic process. Can Black women ever feel safe and whole?”

Download “Crooked Room: Stories from New Orleans”