When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

Title: When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

Authors: Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele 

Genre: Nonfiction: Memoir

Publication Date: 2018


Published in 2018, When They Call You a Terrorist is a memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, cowritten with Asha Bandele. It centers on the formative experiences that led Khan-Cullors to cofound the Black Lives Matter movement. Growing up in a poor, racially diverse Los Angeles neighborhood, Khan-Cullors experienced systemic inequality, such as a hostile police force and lack of access to healthy food. Much of the memoir examines how Black people in similar situations have been expected to accept these conditions as a fact of life.

Refusing to stand by helplessly, however, Khan-Cullors became a community organizer, acting against injustice—racism, misogyny, and homophobia, for example—by building strong communal bonds, creating solidarity, and fighting for the dignity of all people, whether her own family or complete strangers. Eventually she found herself, along with other organizers, at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The memoir also shows her spiritual journey toward understanding her own identity and her difficulties with family tragedies, such as her father’s incarceration and death and the incarceration and mental health struggles of her brother Monte.

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