Words Of Witness: Black Women's Autobiography In The Post-brown Era

Paperback | January 12, 2016

byAngela A. Ards

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A literary and political genealogy of the last half-century, Words of Witness explores black feminist autobiographical narratives in the context of activism and history since the landmark 1954 segregation case, Brown v. Board of Education. Angela A. Ards examines how activist writers, especially five whose memoirs were published in the 1990s and 2000s, crafted these life stories to engage and shape progressive, post-Brown politics.
            Exploring works by the critically acclaimed June Jordan and Edwidge Danticat, as well as by popular and emerging authors such as Melba Beals, Rosemary Bray, and Eisa Davis, Ards demonstrates how each text asserts countermemories to official—and often nostalgic—understandings of the civil rights and Black Power movements. She situates each writer as activist-citizen, adopting and remaking particular roles—warrior, “the least of these,” immigrant, hip-hop head—to crystallize a range of black feminist responses to urgent but unresolved political issues.

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A literary and political genealogy of the last half-century, Words of Witness explores black feminist autobiographical narratives in the context of activism and history since the landmark 1954 segregation case, Brown v. Board of Education. Angela A. Ards examines how activist writers, especially five whose memoirs were published in the...

Angela A. Ards is an assistant professor of English at Southern Methodist University. She formerly worked as a journalist for Ms. and the Village Voice.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:250 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:January 12, 2016Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029930504X

ISBN - 13:9780299305048

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments                 
 
Introduction: Post-Brown Political Aesthetics                      
1 Beyond the Strong Black Woman in Melba Beals’s Warriors Don’t Cry             
2 Reclaiming the Radicalism of Social Interdependence in Rosemary Bray’s Unafraid of the Dark: A Memoir                  
3 Honoring the Past to Move Forward in June Jordan’s Soldier: A Poet’s Childhood                     
4 Collective Storytelling as Diasporic Consciousness in Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying               
5 Cultivating Liberatory Joy in Eisa Davis’s Angela’s Mixtape                    
Epilogue: Teaching “the People”: Bodies, Material Histories, and the Project of Black Feminist Autobiography              
 
Notes             
Bibliography              
Index   

Editorial Reviews

“Ambitious, timely, engaging, and provocative. Angela Ards, erudite and remarkably widely read, situates her analysis of a new political ethic grounded in black women’s experience at the intersection of autobiography studies, feminism, black literary history, and cultural and political theory.”—Julia Watson, coeditor of Women, Autobiography, Theory: A Reader