Marginalized women are too often portrayed as a societal problem to be fixed, says Sagashus Levingston, founder of Infamous Mothers Inc. The Madison, Wis., social entrepreneur aims to refute that narrative by selling products and giving talks that empower urban black mothers. Last year, she published the coffee table book “Infamous Mothers” following a successful Kickstarter campaign. Now, Levingston is crowdfunding to get copies of it printed and into the hands of the mothers they serve, who may not have the financial means to buy one.
Levingston, currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin, understands the struggle firsthand as the mother of six children. She said in a TedX Madison talk last year that the broader feminist community overlooks the potential of black mothers and often fails to see the complexity of their lives. She added that feminism taught her to see such problems. “The question that I asked was: ‘Can mothers like me make a difference?’” Levingston said.
To answer that question, she started working on the “Infamous Mothers” book, which shares the stories of 20 mothers who were teenage or single mothers, or who abused drugs and worked in the sex industry.
The women were active participants in telling their narratives, Levingston says, and were involved in the writing and editing process. They even styled their own photographs. The goal of the book is to “unleash the power of thousands of women who are in situations that may make them feel unattractive, unworthy, and unheard,” according to Levingston’s crowdfunding campaign.
The Money: Within the next 21 days, Infamous Mothers hopes to reach its crowdfunding goal of $250,000. The campaign, hosted by iFundWomen, says the money will be used to distribute 10,000 copies of the book to mothers from ten U.S. cities.