This author is fighting for Black moms to be remembered in history

This author is fighting for Black moms to be remembered in history

Black mothers are often the foundations of families and communities, yet they are also forgotten by history.

Author Anna Malaika Tubbs has made it her mission to ensure the contributions of Black mothers are not erased or left behind.

Tubbs is the author of the bestselling book "The Three Mothers," which tells the stories of Berdis Baldwin, Alberta King and Louise Little, three women who raised civil rights icons James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X, respectively.

Tubbs said she was inspired to write the book after touring the childhood home of Martin Luther King, Jr. and seeing no mention of Alberta King, who not only raised the civil rights hero but was a force in her own right, graduating from college in the 1930s and playing an active role herself in the civil rights movement and as the choir founder and longtime organist at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, according to her biography .

Tubbs had to start from scratch when telling the stories of Baldwin, King and Little because so little of their lives had been preserved.

"Our life stories are these puzzles and some puzzles are placed together beautifully and taken care of and put in a frame and put on a wall that we all admire," said Tubbs. "Other puzzles are left and everywhere we move we lose a piece of the puzzle or it gets chewed on or piece gets thrown away, and that was really how their lives had been treated before this book."


Bettmann Archive via Getty Images - PHOTO: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., poses with his mother, left, and his wife, right, at Harlem Hospital, Sept. 30, 1958, during his first news conference after being stabbed by Mrs. Izola Curry on Sept. 20th.

As Tubbs began to explore the lives of King, Baldwin and Little -- who were all born within six years of each other and who gave birth to their sons within five years of each other -- she said she saw similarities with the stories and sacrifices of Black mothers in America today.

The stories of Black mothers like Sybrina Fulton , Allison Jean, Wanda Cooper Jones and Michelle Kenney were in the headlines while Tubbs was writing the book, after their sons were killed in different incidents that impacted the nation.

"One of the most heartbreaking realities of these three women's lives is that their worst fears did come true, they all outlived their sons," Tubbs told " Good Morning America " of Baldwin, King and Little. "Through this we see, one, how dangerous it is to be Black in the United States of America and the pain that so many Black mothers can relate to in Alberta's, Berdis' and Louise's stories."

Berdis Baldwin was a single mother when she gave birth in a Harlem hospital in 1924 to James, the first of her nine children.

A writer herself, Baldwin was often praised by her son's teachers for the letters she wrote. And it was Baldwin who taught her children love and forgiveness, which is later seen in James' writing, according to Tubbs.

"When her son later says that he is a witness to the powerful fight and that he uses his writing to be this witness, he's not only saying something beautiful all on his own, he's actually directly quoting his mother and the lessons that she taught him," said Tubbs.


In addition to being an important force at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her father was pastor, Alberta King was an advocate for using education and grassroots organizing as paths to freedom, according to Tubbs.

"All of these things that are really important to Martin Luther King, Jr., and that we know him for, Alberta King is practicing long before she's even thinking of having children," said Tubbs.

GMA