From a highly lauded modern voice in feminism and racial justice comes a deeply personal and insightful testament to the power of reimagining to dismantle the frameworks and systems that no longer serve us while building new ones that do.
There are breaking points in all our lives when we realize that the way things have been done before just don’t work for us anymore, be it the way we approach our relationships, our belief systems, our work, our education, even our rest. For activist, philanthropist, and CEO Rachel E. Cargle, reimagining—the act of creating in our minds that which does not exist but that we believe can and should—has been a lifelong process. Reimagining served as the most powerful catalyst for Cargle’s personal transformation from a small-town Christian wife to an incisive queer feminist voice of a generation.
In A Renaissance of Our Own, we witness the sometimes painful but always inspiring breaking points in Cargle’s life that fostered a truer identity. These defining moments offer a blueprint for how we must all use our imagination—the space that sees beyond limits—to live in alignment with our highest values and to craft a world independent of oppressive structures, both personal and societal. Cargle now invites you to acknowledge ways of being that stem from societal expectations instead of your personal truth, and to embark on a renaissance of your own. She provides the very tools and prompts that she used to unearth her own truth, tools that opened her up to being a more authentic feminist and purpose-driven matriarchal leader.
A Renaissance of Our Own gives us the courage to look at the world and say “I want something different.” It serves as a reminder of the power and possibility of reimagining a life that feels right, all the way down to the marrow of your bones.
Rachel E. Cargle is an activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropic innovator. She is the founder of The Loveland Group, a family of companies including Elizabeth’s Bookshop & Writing Centre, a literary space that celebrates marginalized voices, and The Great Unlearn, an adult learning platform that centers the teaching of BIPOC thinkers. In 2018, she founded The Loveland Foundation, offering free access to mental health care for Black women and girls. Cargle is a regular contributor to Cultured magazine, Atmos, and The Cut, and her work has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.
“Dazzling—a loving, bold tale of imagination, bravery, and radical action in the face of injustice . . . Through an account of Cargle’s own complicated life journey, she provides a framework for our own acts of courage as brutality threatens to strip us of humanity.” -- Elle
“I loved and admired this book as much as I have always loved and admired its author. Rachel Cargle is that rare sort of phoenix who rises from the ashes of her life not only reborn on the personal level but also fully ready to change the world. A Renaissance of Our Own is an elegant, thoughtful, vulnerable, and inspiring memoir. May this book land in a million hands, all over the world.” -- Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Magic
“Magical. Shape-shifting. Cargle recounts how she spun silk out of the threadbare yarns of patriarchy and white supremacy while reminding readers that such alchemy is possible for them, too. Such wonder is inevitable if we give ourselves permission to reimagine our existence and re-create ourselves in our own divine image.” -- Sonya Renee Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of The Body Is Not an Apology
“What a beautiful offering and gentle invitation Rachel Cargle has extended with A Renaissance of Our Own. I felt the pull to really slow down and sit with both her stories and my own. This book is not meant to be simply consumed but explored.” -- Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, founder of the award-winning Therapy for Black Girls and author of Sisterhood Heals
“A profoundly moving and powerful story of how one woman transformed both herself and her community while giving us the tools to do the same . . . Rachel shows that the closer we get to our own true light, the brighter we may shine for the world. You will celebrate, you will mourn, but ultimately you will leave these pages changed for the better.” -- Gabrielle Union, New York Times bestselling author of We’re Going to Need More Wine
[H] Ballantine Books / May 16, 2023
1.2" H x 8.4" L x 5.9" W (0.85 lbs) 256 pages