Sometimes Farmgirls Become Revolutionaries: Florence Tate on Black Power, Black Politics and the FBI
by Florence L. Tate and Jake-Ann Jones
Publication Date: Nov 30, 2021
List Price: $18.95
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Imprint: Black Classic Press
Publisher: Black Classic Press
Parent Company: Black Classic Press
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Florence Tate’s collected memoir is a moving portrait of a brave unsung Black woman fighting for Civil Rights, Black liberation, and sanity.
Sometimes Farmgirls Become Revolutionaries is the story of Florence Louise Tate (1931-2014), an unsung civil rights organizer, Black Power activist, and barrier-breaking Black woman.
Known widely as an independent thinker, wife, and mother (of writer and musician Greg Tate, Tate was especially close to the young leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), including and especially Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). Collaborating with these activists, she became a mentor, nurturer, mother-of-the-movement, and a target of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.
Tate was a gifted communicator who channeled her talents and skills into a career as a journalist, press secretary, and communications director. She defied gender stereotypes of the 1960s, playing key roles behind the scenes in the lives and work of an astonishing number of high-profile leaders of the most influential social-change organizations and events of the twentieth century. She was also a valued crisis manager who worked with numerous Black Nationalist leaders and Pan-African activists. She kept open lines of communications with several prominent US politicians and members of the Congressional Black Caucus such as Carl Stokes, John Conyers, and Shirley Chisholm. She was particularly close to Marion Barry and Jesse Jackson, both of whom she served as press secretary.
She was a world traveler, present for historic moments of national and international importance such as the successful 1983 mission led by Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson to free Lt. Robert Goodman, a military hostage being held by the Syrian government.
Although publicly viewed as an accomplished and competent activist, most people never knew that privately Florence Tate was bravely fighting to maintain her mental health. Diagnosed with chronic depression as a young mother, she endured many years of electroconvulsive shock treatment and psychiatric therapy hoping to ward off her recurring bouts of melancholy and despair. But she never gave up. She endured the treatments and the ups and downs of her condition to live a full life, contributing to her community, fighting for human and civil rights, and being available to her family.
Farmgirls was written in collaboration with author Jake-ann Jones, who became Tate’s friend, confidant, and mentee. The book is an engaging collage of Tate’s life, woven together from her journal entries, memories of people who knew her, and excerpts from her FBI files. Together, these multiple perspectives bring into focus the complex and complicated saga of a public persona engaged in private struggle, defying and overcoming the odds.
- Biography & Autobiography / Social Activists
- History / African American
- Political Science / Civil Rights
- Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies