Djamila Ribeiro

Letters to my Grandmother

In her most personal and delicate of her books, philosopher Djamila Ribeiro revisits her childhood and adolescence to discuss topics such as black ancestry and the challenges of raising children in a racist society. The story takes the form of letters to her dear grandmother Antônia – an affectionate and loving woman, knowledgeable about healing herbs and a much sought-after healer.

The complicity that always existed between grandmother and granddaughter is what allows the author to recall difficult episodes, such as the loss of her father and mother, the attacks she suffered as a Black woman in Brazil and the challenges of integrating academic life. Djamila also talks about her romantic relationships and professional experiences, the music, readings and friendships that accompanied her in her personal construction – and the gradual perception that the memory of the struggles and achievements of Black people who came before us is the strength that allows us to move forward.