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Power in the Tongue 

The debut book by Caitlyn Hunter, Power in the Tongue is a hybrid memoir about an African American family and their daughter, a Black girl grappling with growing up in America. 


Like many Black families, the story starts on a plantation in Virginia. Inspired by Zora Neale Hurston’s  Mules and Men, Caitlyn traces the migration of her maternal family from Virginia to Pittsburgh, retelling stories about their lives as Black folk tales, oral stories finally taking shape on the page. Taking from the West African tradition, Caitlyn draws on the stories of her ancestors for contemporary life lessons. Woven in between are personal essays about surviving mistreatment by police, a natural hair journey, a funeral for an absentee father, and others, demonstrating the nuances of Black womanhood that are often minimized, overlooked, or stereotyped until unrecognizable.

Power in the Tongue is about the power of family and finding your own voice. It’s about finding confidence in one’s own identity and being unapologetically dope. But most of all, it is an addition to the Great Black American canon. These are stories that remind us all how we too come from greatness.

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