Single. Black. Female. The Gift of Tracy Brown

Tracy Brown framed in Flowers 2023

Novelist Tracy Brown; Light Bringer

Were We There Enough?

By Alice Walker

Getting close to the end of SINGLE BLACK FEMALE* I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I knew I must search out the author, just to see her face. To beam my happiness on her for writing a book as useful as any we are likely to have on life among single black women whose partners are locked up in prison, locked up in drug use, locked up in machismo.  Locked up in their own hurt to have encountered a home, a society, a culture, a marriage or “hook-up” with no or little idea how to cherish and protect it. This is that kind of book.  Real. Unvarnished. Tender. Like seeing a battalion of soldiers coming to help you, and not to join the police.

And then… there it was. Pain. The discovery by way of Google that Tracy Brown who wrote this amazing medicine book had committed suicide.

She was in her forties!  So much younger than me.  I wondered: had I done enough, as older writer/sister?

How could I bear it, that it was only by happenstance that I found her name, and the novel that moved me so?  The novel that, because of its title – which I thought lacked poetry – I might have skipped reading. Now I thought: she was right to be blunt, to put all of the adjectives out there. Single. Black. Female. Since of course she was working magic with reality.  That is who and what so many of our sisters, mothers, children, are. Single. Black. Female.

What do we do then?

That is what this very important novel explores. Sisterhood. And before that, a coming to terms with what it means to honor integrity.  To stand in the truth of who we are; what our situation is. Not to hide from the battle for a shining self.

Tracy Brown.  May you find your transformation into all that Was.  Is Now. And Ever Will Be.  A part of Eternal “God.” Returning always to those you leave and embracing with your art those, like this writer, that you meet.


*Audible: read by Eboni Flowers.