We are teen moms, baby mamas, mothers who once sex worked and were addicted to crack. We're not your average good girls. We are survivors of domestic abuse and sexual trauma. But don't call us damsels in distress. We are women with moxie and grit--game changers and powerhouses. We did more than go through the belly of hell and survived, we brought something good back. Coming out on the other side as doctors, artists, nurse practitioners, homeowners, counselors, and so much more, we are 20 women who make a difference in this world. Read our stories and witness how.
Sagashus T. Levingston
Sagashus T. Levingston
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Sagashus T. Levingston is the single mom of six, an award winner, cover girl, PhD Candidate, hot speaker and author of Infamous Mothers.
Sagashus T. Levingston was born in Chicago and raised in the area now known as Bronzeville, but known before gentrification as the Low End. She holds a bachelor’s in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been attending graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There she earned a master’s in Afro-American Studies and is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of English. Her dissertation is titled Infamous Mothers: Bad Moms Doing Extraordinary Things. While her research focuses primarily on literature, it is informed by theory and criticism from rhetoric, motherhood studies and black feminism. Her coffee table book, simply titled Infamous Mothers, is inspired by this work and so is Infamous Mothers, LLC, a social enterprise where Sagashus offers personal and professional development training meant to empower women who mother from the margins of our society. She also delivers programming to the organizations and professionals that make an impact on these women's lives. Sagashus is a proud button-wearing member of the Doyenne Group, Inc. located in Madison, WI. She also sits on the WWBIC South Central Ambassadorial Advisory Committee. As the proud mother of six children—three boys and three girls, and partner of Tosumba, she and her family lives in Madison, WI.
Sagashus T. Levingston was born in Chicago and raised in the area now called Bronzeville, but known before gentrification as the Low End. She is the cover girl for the January issue of BRAVA Magazine where she's also celebrated as one of its 26 Women to Watch for 2017. An award-winning educator and social entrepreneur, Sagashus is recognized as a 2016 Outstanding Woman of Color by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, she is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English completing a dissertation titled Infamous Mothers: Bad Moms Doing Extraordinary Things. While her research focuses primarily on literature, it is informed by theory and criticism from rhetoric, motherhood studies and black feminism. This work inspired her coffee-table book, simply titled, Infamous Mothers. Frustrated about the scarcity of literature written about "infamous mothers" who make a difference in the public sphere, Sagashus was determined to gather stories of women she could quote in her dissertation. She wanted their words and their voices to be included in academic conversations. Infamous Mothers is a collection of stories about 20 women who did more than move from trial to triumph. They are changing the world in the work they do as counselors, doulas, professors, entrepreneurs, artists and so much more. Sagashus also sees the book as central the work does in her own social enterprise, Infamous Mothers, LLC where she delivers personal and professional development training, thought provoking talks, and other high quality products and services to women who mother from the margins of our society. She also delivers programming to the organizations and professionals that make an impact on these women's lives. Sagashus is a proud, button-wearing member of the Doyenne Group, Inc. located in Madison, WI. She also sits on the WWBIC South Central Ambassadorial Advisory Committee. As the mother of six dynamic children—three boys and three girls, and partner of Tosumba--she and her family lives in Madison, WI.
Below are excerpts from the upcoming book, Infamous Mothers.
"I could see my innocence erode over time. That continual vulnerability and predatory thing, I know intimately. I KNOW how many times that walk home from school happens before you end up in the back seat of a guy’s car or before you end up at a hotel underaged. My experience as a young woman of color, I liken to the experiences of a young man of color who is walking to and from school every day pass gang members and drug dealing. There is a corrosive enticement to compromise, and over time, you find yourself weakening. Using a slave plantation metaphor, we would call it “the moment that you break.” You hear it in the conversation of pimps today, the idea of breaking a b**tch or breaking a woman."
When I go places in public I always notice how people count my children for me.
"Wow, you've sure got your hands full." People think that's the thing to say to a mother of multiple children, but it really is offensive. When I tell people how many, they're shocked. They say, "You don't look like you have five kids." Really, what they're saying is “I had an imagine of what a mother of five kids would look like, and you don't fit that.”
Depending on what kind of mood I'm in, I'll say: "Well now you can reset what you think mothers of five children look like. Here I am. Nice to meet you."
I felt so disempowered and victimized, and I felt like a number, like a cattle that had like a tag on their ear with a number on it, you know. She doesn't have a name, she's number 52 in the herd. She's just here to consume services that we're going to give her how we see fit. She's not here to ask us for what she wants.
Infamous Mothers on NBC