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Autobiography as Activism : Three Black Women of the Sixties

By: Perkins, Margo V.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.Publisher: Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 2012Description: 1 online resource (182 p.).ISBN: 9781604737356.Subject(s): African American women -- Intellectual life -- 20th century | African American women in literature | African American women political activists -- Biography -- History and criticism | African Americans -- Biography -- History and criticism | American prose literature -- African American authors -- History and criticism | American prose literature -- Women authors -- History and criticism | Autobiography -- African American authors | Autobiography -- Women authors | Brown, Elaine, 1943- Taste of power | Davis, Angela Yvonne, 1944- Angela Davis | Shakur, Assata. Assata | Women and literature -- United States -- History -- 20th centuryGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Autobiography as Activism : Three Black Women of the SixtiesDDC classification: 305.48/896073/00922 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Cover; Contents; Acknowledgments; Introduction; Chapter 1 "I am We": Black Women Activists Writing Autobiography; Chapter 2 Literary Antecedents in the Struggle for Freedom; Chapter 3 On Becoming: Activists' Reflections on Their Formative Experiences; Chapter 4 Autobiography as Political/Personal Intervention; Chapter 5 Gender and Power Dynamics in 1960s Black Nationalist Struggle; Chapter 6 Reading Intertextually: Black Power Narratives Then and Now; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index; A; B; C; D; E; F; H; I; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; R; S; T; U; V; W
Summary: A study of three Black Power narratives as instruments for radical social change Angela Davis, Assata Shakur (a.k.a. JoAnne Chesimard), and Elaine Brown are the only women activists of the Black Power movement who have published book-length autobiographies. In bearing witness to that era, these militant newsmakers wrote in part to educate and to mobilize their anticipated readers. In this way, Davis's Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974), Shakur's Assata (1987), and Brown's A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story (1992) can all be read as extensions of the writers' political activism during the 1960s. Margo V. Perkins's critical analysis of their books is less a history of the movement (or of women's involvement in it) than an exploration of the politics of storytelling for activists who choose to write their lives. Perkins examines how activists use autobiography to connect their lives to those of other activists across historical periods, to emphasize the link between the personal and the political, and to construct an alternative history that challenges dominant or conventional ways of knowing. The histories constructed by these three women call attention to the experiences of women in revolutionary struggle, particularly to the ways their experiences have differed from men's. The women's stories are told from different perspectives and provide different insights into a movement that has been much studied from the masculine perspective. At times they fill in, complement, challenge, or converse with the stories told by their male counterparts, and in doing so, hint at how the present and future can be made less catastrophic because of women's involvement. The multiple complexities of the Black Power movement become evident in reading these women's narratives against each other as well as against the sometimes strikingly different accounts of their male counterparts. As Davis, Shakur, and Brown recount events in their lives, they dispute mainstream assumptions about race, class, and gender and reveal how the Black Power struggle profoundly shaped their respective identities. Recipient of Mississippi University for Women's Eudora Welty Prize, 1999 Margo V. Perkins is an assistant professor of English and American studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
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Item type Current location Call number URL Status Date due Barcode
Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
Online
PS366.A35 P37 (Browse shelf) http://uttyler.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=866925 Available EBL866925

Cover; Contents; Acknowledgments; Introduction; Chapter 1 "I am We": Black Women Activists Writing Autobiography; Chapter 2 Literary Antecedents in the Struggle for Freedom; Chapter 3 On Becoming: Activists' Reflections on Their Formative Experiences; Chapter 4 Autobiography as Political/Personal Intervention; Chapter 5 Gender and Power Dynamics in 1960s Black Nationalist Struggle; Chapter 6 Reading Intertextually: Black Power Narratives Then and Now; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index; A; B; C; D; E; F; H; I; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; R; S; T; U; V; W

A study of three Black Power narratives as instruments for radical social change Angela Davis, Assata Shakur (a.k.a. JoAnne Chesimard), and Elaine Brown are the only women activists of the Black Power movement who have published book-length autobiographies. In bearing witness to that era, these militant newsmakers wrote in part to educate and to mobilize their anticipated readers. In this way, Davis's Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974), Shakur's Assata (1987), and Brown's A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story (1992) can all be read as extensions of the writers' political activism during the 1960s. Margo V. Perkins's critical analysis of their books is less a history of the movement (or of women's involvement in it) than an exploration of the politics of storytelling for activists who choose to write their lives. Perkins examines how activists use autobiography to connect their lives to those of other activists across historical periods, to emphasize the link between the personal and the political, and to construct an alternative history that challenges dominant or conventional ways of knowing. The histories constructed by these three women call attention to the experiences of women in revolutionary struggle, particularly to the ways their experiences have differed from men's. The women's stories are told from different perspectives and provide different insights into a movement that has been much studied from the masculine perspective. At times they fill in, complement, challenge, or converse with the stories told by their male counterparts, and in doing so, hint at how the present and future can be made less catastrophic because of women's involvement. The multiple complexities of the Black Power movement become evident in reading these women's narratives against each other as well as against the sometimes strikingly different accounts of their male counterparts. As Davis, Shakur, and Brown recount events in their lives, they dispute mainstream assumptions about race, class, and gender and reveal how the Black Power struggle profoundly shaped their respective identities. Recipient of Mississippi University for Women's Eudora Welty Prize, 1999 Margo V. Perkins is an assistant professor of English and American studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Phelps (Univ. of Toledo) offers detailed and generally insightful readings of three often-neglected poets who were instrumental in the Chicago Black Arts scene: Johari Amini, Carolyn Rodgers, and Angela Jackson. She devotes an individual chapter to each writer, and analyzes Rodgers's and Jackson's "postrace black art," the political and aesthetic principles of the Black Arts Movement (BAM), and its particular instantiation within the cultural moment of 1960s and 1970s Chicago. The author's analysis is at its strongest when she examines textual details. The broader contextual and theoretical readings sometimes stray into less convincing moments, especially in considerations of the BAM's often essentialist gender dynamics. Phelps's readings would benefit from closer attention to the physical forms in which these and other Black Arts poems became public, since their material designs and linguistic content often resisted and subverted racialist structures. Overall, this study enriches and adds complexity to conceptions of this frequently misunderstood movement. The author provides a good balance of references and notes to aid further research. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. J. Young Marshall University

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