From their experience, African American women learned to be self - reliant, which was a character trait that stood in opposition to the ideal of femininity of the time. As a consequence, African American women began to “be characterized as tough, domineer ing, and strong” (hooks 83). Nevertheless, the racist practices changed the view of African American women who began to be seen as “masculinized sub - human creatures” by the American mainstream society (hooks 71). Barbara Christian asserts that “in both A nglo - and Afro - American literature [African American women] have been assigned stereotype roles” ( Black Feminist Criticism 2). One of the most prominent stereotypical images of African American women became the “mammy figure” who “is in direct contrast to the ideal white woman [.
In the manuscript, Stewart thundered, “WE CLAIM OUR RIGHTS”, she prophesied to ominous white America: “Dark and dismal is the cloud that hangs over thee, for thy cruel wrongs and injuries to the fallen sons of Africa. The blood of her murdered ones cries to heaven for vengeance against thee.” This was her call for African Americans to stand up for their rights. Stewart was different from a lot of abolitionists during her time because of the role she established for black women. She believed that it was the women who could establish the “sure foundation” in this movement. Unlike what many believed at the time of the duties reserved for black women, which was the responsibilities of the home, Stewart upheld those beliefs and served as a standard of moral rectitude exemplary to man.
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves,” is what acclaimed slavery emancipator Abraham Lincoln once stated (Dorfman 1). However, before freedom was able to be obtained by all, many slaves had to endure traumatizing lives. Harriet Jacobs, a runaway slave, explains the sexual, emotional, and physical abuse that female slaves were forced to face in her narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. With her writing, awareness for the burdens of female slaves and the fact that they do not ask for the difficulty they receive was brought to the reader’s attention. Women in both the southern and northern regions were able to sympathize with what Jacobs had to say about her own personal struggles throughout her girlhood.
Celie succeeds in her quest for identity and history by developing an understanding of her roots and heritage and acquiring the awareness that she has a right to happiness, passion, creativity and emotional fulfilment. To exercise her rights as an individual, Celie learns to resist the advances of black men who hinder her self- fulfilment. Alice Walker has been vehemently criticized within the African- American community for her portrayal of black men as abusers and rapists. Like her literary predecessor, Zora Neale Hurston, who was criticized during the Harlem Renaissance for her feminist writing, Alice Walker has withstood the criticism. She has held on her convictions and continued to be a spokesman for the cause of the oppressed black woman.
While white women are believed to be virtuous, innocent, pure, chaste and goddess-like, black women are believed to be inherently promiscuous, lascivious and a sexual object. According to bell hooks, slave women were termed as “sexual temptress”, “sexual savage” and “sexual heathens” (33). In reality, they were sexually vulnerable from their adolescent years and suffered harsh punishment if they did not submit to the demands of the white men. While white women are treated as fragile and incapable of doing heavy work, black women are treated as mules which can be exploited to perform heavy labour. The grandmother Nanny in Zora Neale Hurston’s (1891-1960) novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) says to the young Janie Crawford that “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see” (17).
To be specific, she situates the imminent feminist struggle by highlighting the legacy of slavery among black people, and black women in particular. “Black women bore the terrible burden of equality in oppression” (Davis). Due to her race, her writing focuses on what she understood and ideas that are relevant to black females. Conversely, since white men used black women in domestic labor and forcefully rape these individuals. These men used this powerful weapon to remind black women of their female and vulnerability.
Alice Walker quotes and adapts Virginia Woolf’s writing to reframe it for black women. She inserts and changes words to reshape Woolf’s writing to reach black feminists and to tell the painful narrative of black women’s history. It is clear that Alice Walker has respect for Virginia Woolf, and while she does not tear Woolf down in her essay, she also does not sing Woolf’s praises. By using quotes from Woolf, Walker is able to contrast her own experiences, and those of other black women, with Woolf’s ideas about feminism. Virginia Woolf was British, white, and privileged; she had a prominent voice among peers and was held in high regard.
‘The Colour Purple’, published in 1982, was written by Alice Walker and demonstrates the brutal treatment of black women within the early 20th century. During this time, there was much oppression, particularly for black women. They were mistreated purely because of their colour and gender. The form and content of the novel can be viewed as a slave narrative that reflects the struggle for one woman’s independence. Female independence and freedom from the patriarchal society are topics that many feminist literary theorists tend to explore, particularly those that belonged to the third wave of feminist writing.
In the novel, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, there are many characters that can be identified as an antagonist throughout the story. However, Hilly Holbrook is the most significant of them all. With her attitude towards colored people, her controlling personality, and the methods she uses in order to have her way, it is obvious that Ms. Hilly is a definite villain of this novel. In the novel, many white families, including Ms. Hilly’s, had hired African American maids to help them around the house. Unfortunately, even though Ms. Hilly’s help worked hard and did as they were told, she still did not give them the light of day.
Similarly, Celie from The Color Purple (Walker) submits to severe sexual, verbal, physical, and emotional abuse from both her father and Mr. ___, because she believes her status, as a dark black woman, deserves such abuse. Though other black women within the novel encourage Celie to fight back, she does not begin to take back her life until she discovers Mr. ___’s cruelty in hiding Nettie’s letters for so many years. Neither Ellison’s Narrator nor Celie are inherently different from their counterparts, but the social stratification, layering of people into hierarchical levels, sets them apart as somehow “lesser” beings, demonized or diminished. Both characters travel difficult roads to overcome the status with which they have been pegged, but they finally do so: the Narrator into the isolation of his underground home and Celie into the comfort of being surrounded by other women of
The strengths of this article, looks at the systemic abuse of executed Black ladies from the soonest times of American history. The steadiest consider Black female executions all through U.S. history is criminal equity experts ' executions of Black ladies to a great extent for testing gendered and bigot misuse. Provincial and prior to the war bondage regulated the abuse of slave ladies, who regularly struck back against severe fierceness by murdering White bosses. White lynch crowds viably expanded the legitimate murdering of Black ladies in postbellum society and brought down Black female execution rates. Decreased to a peonage state in the politically-sanctioned racial segregation of Jim Crow, Black ladies ' violations of resistance against White mercilessness paralleled those of slave ladies’ decades prior.
This is the case that is made by Danielle McGuire in At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women’s, Rape, and Resistance-A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. In this text, the author expands the discussion of the challenges that African American women contended with prior to and during the civil rights movement during the mid-twentieth century. The author argues that the rape and sexual violence that was prevalent during this era and its impact on Black women received minimal attention. The organization and activism that was fueled by women was similarly minimized (McGuire, 2010. Historians have documented how men have been affected by the topic of rape and violence in relation to white society
Women in this time were expected to be pure and pias. Women also did not plage a huge role in how history was being written. Black women specifically were double oppressed due to the fact that they were a woman and black. Distinctions that Zinn cited between white and black female oppression were obviously the racial bias, and the class condition and class bias. Women have always been held behind men in society but as a black women you were extra behind.
Organizations like the Combahee River Collective and some great figures like Assata Shakur, Audre Lorde, Bell Hooks, and Jesse Jackson didn’t only inform about the struggles of the they accompanied, but also the action they proposed to overcome those struggles. Combahee River Collective organization emphasized the theme oppression or injustice, especially in the Black feminism. According to the Combahee Collective organization, “The fact that racial politics and indeed racism are pervasive factors in our lives did not allow us, and still does not allow most black women, to look more deeply into our own experiences and define those things that make our lives what they are and our oppression specific to us”, it can be inferred that, oppression wasn’t just a new issue, but it was effecting the lives of the black women even from the beginning. Talking about oppression, Combahee River Collective specifically