October 4, 2010
In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens
In her essay “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens”, Alice Walker constantly argues of the abundant waste of creativity, and potentially marveling accomplishment among black enslaved female artists throughout history. She writes this piece to illustrate how our great-grandmothers of color kept intense spirituality. These women fought against all odds to express themselves in the feeble, pathetic manners that they could. Not only did these artists represent the profusion of artistry that was lost in the unwinnable battle black women fought against white tyranny, but also a large stepping stone in the civil rights movement as well. An important theme that is supported in Walker’s writing is womanism. The significant historical figures that support this theme are the many of our black artistic ancestors whose creativity was smothered by the hands of oppression; these “saints”, as Walker calls them, act as measurement for how much brilliance was lost in the flames of slavery, and how much black women are capable of.
According to Alice Walker, a ‘womanist’ is a black feminist or a feminist of color, and one who brings new demands and different perspectives to feminism. As a clear womanist her self, Walker stresses in her writing a realization of racial equality, using these historical artists as examples, in addition to the realization of how much talent was lost due to the oppression they suffered. In her writing the author uses Phillis Wheatley, a very gifted but underprivileged slave girl to illustrate examples of this. “What then are we to make of Phillis Wheatley, a slave, who owned not even herself? This Sickly, frail black girl who required a servant of her own at times – her health was so precarious – and who, had she been white, would have been easily considered the intellectual superior of all the women and most of the men in the society of her day” (Walker... [continues]
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