Menah Pratt-Clarke, Womanhood

Menah Pratt-Clarke Explores Black Womanhood In New Book, ‘Blackwildgirl: A Writer’s Journey to Take Back Her Superpower’

"Blackwildgirl" is a twelve-stage initiation journey chronicled through journal entries, encouraging Black women to reclaim their power.

In her poignant book Blackwildgirl: A Writer’s Journey to Take Back Her Superpower, released on April 2, Menah Pratt-Clarke pays homage to the essence of Black womanhood while delving into the systemic oppression and its reverberating impacts on Black women.

Drawing inspiration from literary luminaries like Alice Walker, Jasmine Mans, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, and Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Blackwildgirl is a profoundly introspective autobiography chronicling Pratt-Clarke’s acts, stages, scenes, and letters to Love, commencing from the tender age of eight. On her website, Pratt-Clarke portrays the book as a profound twelve-stage journey of self-discovery chronicled through journal entries. Its overarching mission is to reclaim the innate “childhood queen superpower” that was “lost in a bargain” made by her parents, to which she never consented.

“Our lives are often shaped by bargains, some made with our consent, most without,” Pratt wrote on the site. “These bargains often involve the loss of some essential element of our being. Those who are courageous undertake initiation journeys to recover what was lost in the bargain so that we can fulfill our destinies and purpose in life.”

According to Forbes, the Illinois native draws upon her personal and professional experiences as a prism to explore the complexities of race, gender, and empowerment. She invites Black women to reconnect with their histories, reclaim their power, and redefine narratives about their lives and agency.

Blackwildgirl is based on 45 years of journals that I’ve written since I was a young girl, sharing the story of my experiences going from Black girlhood to Black womanhood and the lessons that I learned,” Pratt said. “In writing this book, my goal was to honor my mother’s message and the idea that we need to be the backbone for those who come after us.”

The tenured professor hopes her book helps Black women find, claim, and own their voices and “that which perhaps was silenced in a male-dominated patriarchal society.”

Pratt-Clarke’s academic credentials include a bachelor’s from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree from Iowa, and a second master’s, PhD, and JD from Vanderbilt University. As noted by Insight Into Diversity, her research explores transdisciplinary scholarship spanning critical race studies, Black feminism, ethnography, womanism, and womanist theology, among others.

Through her current role as Virginia Tech’s vice president for strategic affairs and diversity, Pratt-Clarke continues her mission of empowering and amplifying the voices of Black women. The author has taken her book on tour, and has already visited college campuses like Howard University and Illinois Wesleyan University.