Carved in Ebony: Lessons from the Black Women Who Shape Us by Jasmine L. Holmes


Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

4 Stars

Rosy tan illustrated book cover shows two African American women, one in modern clothing and one in a Victorian dressCarved in Ebony: Lessons from the Black Women Who Shape Us by Jasmine L. Holmes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While Black women have played critical roles in the shaping of American and church history, so many of their names are often left out of history books. Author Jasmine L. Holmes highlights ten of these American women in Carved in Ebony: Lessons from the Black Women Who Shape Us.

Now, I won’t take for granted that everyone knows this: This biography/memoir isn’t just for Black people to read. You don’t have to be a woman to read it either, any more than biographies and memoirs about men should only be read by men. This book is for anyone with an interest in American history, especially pertaining to church history in America.

I appreciate a certain kind of balance the author applies to this narrative. She conveys the importance of the admirable work and accomplishments of the women in this book without placing them on pedestals, as if they must have been flawless figures that everyone should agree with on every theological or social point. The author doesn’t shy away from unsavory aspects of history that others don’t always touch (for instance, someone being an abolitionist didn’t necessarily mean that person loved or accepted Black people), but the book isn’t a mere indictment of America’s shortcomings or wrongdoings either.

The author uses a nuanced brush to illustrate history here in a way that makes a case for faith while serving as a challenge to herself and to the reader. And her points I found most inspiring are that fame is not the only measure of one’s impact, and even an impact that isn’t broad can be deep.

There’s also a children’s edition of this book!

Go to children's edition of Carved in Ebony on Goodreads

Go to Nadine's Books of Hope and Inspiration

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