The Author of this book (On our own terms: race, class, and gender in the lives of African American Women) Leith Mullings seeks to explore the modern and historical lives of African American women on the issues of race, class and gender. Mullings does this in a very analytical way using a collection of essays written and collected over a twenty five year period. The author’s systematic format best explains her point of view. The book explores issues such as family, work and health comparing and contrasting between white and black women as well as between men and women of both races. The book is set into three parts:- • Part one- “women, work and community” • Part two- “kin and family” • Part three- “representation, resistance and transformation: Theory and practice in Politics and the Academy. There is also a preface and an introduction which exactly explains the author’s purpose for writing the book and how she plans too complete the task. “articles represent an attempt, within the context of the academy and the academic endeavour, to illuminate the experiences of African American women and to theorize from the materiality of their lives to broader issues of political economy, family, representation and transformation” (Mullings, page xi) “I tried to demonstrate how both the cross cultural literature and the history of African American women gave the lie to the nation that gender inequality can be attributed to biological differences” (Mullings, page xvii) Mullings early chapters discuss the importance of considering the differences between races and gender and how this affects women within work, family and community. One of Mullings findings in her book is the fact that African American Women as a whole have always worked, unlike a lot of their white counter parts. Mullings gives a lot of examples of why this phenomenon exists. For example, she tells us that during reconstruction if a African American Women did not work she was taxed or forced to pay more rent, it has always it seems been a matter of forced labour in one way or another. Mullings also points out that America is a very profit orientated nation. African Americans were socially devalued as well as women of that time. African American women were forced into labour for pitiful wages just so Anglo men could exploit the profit to the highest degree. Another important issue that Mullings addresses is how African American women have been treated by society especially in the media.
*Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. "African American Women's History and the Metalanguage of Race" in Feminism and History, ed. Joan Wallach Scott (NY: Oxford University Press, 1996), 201.
Chisholm, Shirley. "Race, Revolution and Women." The Black Scholar 42.2 (2012): 31-35. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 May 2016.
Glenda Gilmore’s book Gender & Jim Crow shows a different point of view from a majority of history of the south and proves many convictions that are not often stated. Her stance from the African American point of view shows how harsh relations were at this time, as well as how hard they tried for equity in society. Gilmore’s portrayal of the Progressive Era is very straightforward and precise, by placing educated African American women at the center of Southern political history, instead of merely in the background.
In Kimberly Springer’s anthology, Skin Deep, Spirit Strong: The Black Female Body in American Culture, she has different articles in the book that are written by a variety of women. The articles in the book break down and discuss areas of history and time-periods that shaped the representation and current understanding of the black female body. Many ideals of how society preserves the black female body to be is based on historical context that the authors in Springers book further explain. The two articles that I am going to focus on are Gender, Race and Nation: The Comparative Anatomy of “Hottentot” Women in Europe 1815-17 and Mastering the Female Pelvis: Race and the Tools of Reproduction.
“Study the Masters”, by Lucille Clifton, focuses on the various ways of how African American women have contribute to America. Through the poem the author implores the readers to pay attention to invisible women, “like my aunt Timmie. Stating that it was her iron the smoothed out the sheets her master rested upon day to day. It states the facts of African American women talents and gifts they have been giving. It tells the story of how their gifts have been in many ways, shapes, or forms, tossed under the covers, the stories of them being dared to ever show any of what their hearts truly bestowed. One of the most important things about Lucille Clifton’s work is that she tells the stories of how African American women gifts have been taken
Santamarina, Xiomara. Belabored Professions: Narratives African American Working Womanhood. United States of America: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005. eBook.
African-American women have often been an overlooked group with the larger context of American Society. Historically, oppression has been meted out to the African-American woman in two ways. Historically, everything afforded to African-American, from educational and employment opportunities to health care have been sub-par. As women they have been relegated even further in a patriarchal society that has always, invariably, held men in higher regard.
African Americans have long struggled for equal rights and opportunities, including in 1832 when Maria W. Stewart delivered a lecture in which she argued that African Americans deserve equal capabilities to pursue job placement and advancement. Maria is able to convey her message through the use of examples and similes.
Jaynes, Gerald David. Encyclopedia of African American society. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2005. Print.
The article begins with Davis recognizing a few of the women who were fighting for black rights as well as women’s rights between 1960’s to 1980’s, such as Julia Wilder, Maggie Bozeman. She shares their stories and then concludes with how their sacrifices to the movement were left unnoticed by our predominantly white patriarchal society. Although her delivery was bold, she clarifies her message by stating “I am mentioning these women not for the purpose of criticizing anyone, but in order to point out the big gaps in the information that is available to us and some of the problems that we have to overcome if we are going to be able to establish the most effective women's movement and the most effective approach to women's studies” (Davis 34). With that statement she wanted to explain her intent was not to judge anyone for not knowing who the black feminists were or their contributions,but that she simply just gives an example of the “gaps in the information” that we have given to us. Although this article was written in 1982, the issues Davis presented are still prominent in our nation today. The achievements and struggles of many black feminists are still lost in history and these women have yet to get the recognition they
However, the Mocha Moms do in fact work; just not in the labor market. They perform domestic duties similar to the black women in the early 1900s, but their “work” is centered on caring for their families, which is a huge dissimilarity from black women of the past. Black women who entered the workforce as domestics had dual roles; they had to care for their employer’s children and home only to leave and perform the same type of duties for their own families. But Mocha Moms do not have to care for someone else’s children because they are able to devote majority of their time to their
Deborah Gray White’s Ar’n’t I a Woman? details the grueling experiences of the African American female slaves on Southern plantations. White resented the fact that African American women were nearly invisible throughout historical text, because many historians failed to see them as important contributors to America’s social, economic, or political development (3). Despite limited historical sources, she was determined to establish the African American woman as an intricate part of American history, and thus, White first published her novel in 1985. However, the novel has since been revised to include newly revealed sources that have been worked into the novel. Ar’n’t I a Woman? presents African American females’ struggle with race and gender through the years of slavery and Reconstruction. The novel also depicts the courage behind the female slave resistance to the sexual, racial, and psychological subjugation they faced at the hands of slave masters and their wives. The study argues that “slave women were not submissive, subordinate, or prudish and that they were not expected to be (22).” Essentially, White declares the unique and complex nature of the prejudices endured by African American females, and contends that the oppression of their community were unlike those of the black male or white female communities.