I received a free copy of Notes From A Black Woman’s Diary: Selected Works of Kathleen Collins by Kathleen Collins in exchange for an honest review.
I cannot write this review without a brief intro about the author. Kathleen Collins lived a short life but it was filled with ambition, passion, and creativity. Collins left many unfinished projects with her untimely death at the age of 46. Unbeknownst to her family, Kathleen had been battling breast cancer.
Kathleen Collins was an activist with SNCC during the Civil Rights Movement. Collins delivered one of her most moving civil rights speeches in Jersey City in September of 1962. According to civil rights activist Ralph Allen, that very speech was said to inspire Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, given the following November.
Activism did not slow down Kathleen’s creative ambitions one bit. She went on to make a name for herself as a playwright and filmmaker. An incredible feat for a black woman in those times. Collins was one of the first black women to produce a feature-length film. Notably, she challenged stereotypes and norms by not representing black women, or people, as impoverished or ignorant. She received much backlash for the lack of ghettos in her works.
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Notes and Plays
Kathleen Collins‘s writing is as strong as any I’ve ever read. Notes From A Black Woman’s Diary: Selected Works of Kathleen Collins is truly a diverse offering of Collins’ life work. This collection offers a mix of fiction and non-fiction works made up of plays, personal letters, novel excerpts, diary entries, and screenplays.
Kathleen Collins‘s personal letters to her adult daughter are astounding. Her writing skill is undeniable. Even while being presented with the vulnerability of a person at the end of life, her voice is still strong. The Losing Ground screenplay was one of my favorite works in this collection. Collins has the remarkable ability to make you see the movie with her stage directions and notes. The Losing Ground was actually the first feature film by an independent black woman filmmaker. The film went on to win First Prize at the Figueroa International Film Festival in Portugal. Kathleen Collins received international acclaim but received little notice in the United States. The lack of poor struggling blacks played a major role in the film’s performance in the U.S.
Overall, Notes From A Black Woman’s Diary: Selected Works of Kathleen Collins was a refreshing introduction to Kathleen Collins for me. I will definitely be looking further into her works. Notes From A Black Woman’s Diary: Selected Works of Kathleen Collins was officially released today. Order your copy and let me know what you think.