POWER: The Rise of Black Women in America, Charity C. Elder

18 October, 2022

“Black women are dope because they rise and are yet rising. This dopeness is not hyperbolic or symbolic—rather, it is borne of persecution that has failed to frustrate a perseverant persistence to prevail.”

Before sea to shining sea. Before spacious skies were pierced by purple mountains. Before the uniting of one nation. Black women learned to rise. In POWER: THE RISE OF BLACK WOMEN IN AMERICA, award-winning journalist and digital media executive Charity C. Elder posits that there has never been a better time to be a Black woman in the United States.

POWER is an incisive disquisition on Black womanhood weaving theoretical frameworks of history and sociology with poignant interviews, ethnographic observation, and anecdotes gleaned from history, social media, pop culture, and the author’s lived experiences.

Using data, the author substantiates the triumph of Black women. Original analysis of eighty years of US census data, prepared by the University of Minnesota and analyzed by Dr. Constance F. Citro, documents the remarkable ascension of Black women since the early twentieth century. An exclusive national survey conducted in partnership with the Marist Poll in 2021 not only reveals that 70 percent of Black women say they have been successful in life, but also that most believe they have the power to succeed.

POWER does not shy away from the realities of structural oppression identified by the late Black feminist scholar bell hooks; rather it illuminates how Black women exercise agency to create meaningful lives. Success is not an anomaly, but a defining characteristic. Black women have amassed power—now, Elder posits, they need to acknowledge it and then wield the hell out of it.

Charity C. Elder is an award-winning journalist and media executive with twenty-plus years working and leading in broadcast and digital newsrooms, as well as an adjunct at Fordham University’s Communication and Media Studies Department. Selected in 2017 and profiled for NYC Media’s Vanguard: Women in Media, in 2016, she was named on Folio magazine’s list of top women in media. In 2020, she served as a senior adviser to the Mike Bloomberg presidential campaign. Prior to joining the Bloomberg campaign, Elder was the Head of Video and Podcasts for Yahoo News at Verizon Media, leading a team of innovative producers redefining news in the era of immersive journalism. She also worked as a television news producer at both CBS News and NBC News.