Femisim essay

Topics: Black people Pages: 19 (7221 words) Published: October 12, 2014
Cultivating Black Lesbian Shamelessness: Alice Walker's "The Color Purple" Author(s): Christopher S. Lewis
Source: Rocky Mountain Review, Vol. 66, No. 2 (Fall 2012), pp. 158-175 Published by: Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association
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Cultivating

Black Lesbian

Shamelessness:

Alice Walker s

The Color Purple
Christopher Lewis
S.
Ohio
State
University

T n herpivotal1979 essay"Toward BlackFeminist
a
Barbara
Smith
Criticism,"
in
JL
criticism.
lamented
the lack of black lesbianrepresentation U.S. literary
world whether
She explained
that"Allsegments the literary
of
establishment,
or lesbian do not know, at leastact as ifthey
or
do
Black,female,
progressive,
exist"(132). The
not know,
thatBlackwomenwriters Blacklesbianwriters
and
about blacklesbiansthatemerged
amountof writing and/or
by
unprecedented
in the 1970s and 1980s made the questionand value of blacklesbianwritings to
Americanliterary
existence fundamental
of
studiesin
importance African
Fourseminal
black
lesbian
texts AliceWalker TheColor
s
Audre
particular.
Purple,
LordesZami: A New Spelling My Name NtozakeShange's
,
of
Sassafrass,
Cyprusy
in
& Indigo and GloriaNaylor The Women Brewster - werepublished s
Place
,
of
Ann
writers AllenShockley,
AlexisDe
1982.1 Lesbian-identified
Clarke,
Cheryl
AudreLorde,PatParker, AliceWalker
and
eachbeganand
Veaux,
Gomez,
Jewelle
their
careers
between
like
1970 and 1990.2Writers OctaviaButler,
Gayl
developed
Toni Morrison,
GloriaNaylor, NtozakeShangewho
and
Kincaid,
Jones,
Jamaica
in
did not openlyidentify lesbianor same-sex
as
also
desiring published
writing
the 1970s and 1980s thatexplicitly
blacklesbiancharacters
and/or
represented
shared
blacklesbian
in
interest women's
same-sex
relationships.3
writings
general
Thesewriters
wereat oddswithmajormalewriters the1960sand 1970s Black
of
ArtsMovement
likeAmiriBarakaand Eldridge
Cleaverbecausetheycritiqued
what E. Patrick
calls "thepoliticsof hegemonic
an
blackness," ethic
Johnson
thatdefined BlackArtsMovement
the
of
of
and conceived the "representation
effeminate
blackwriting] disempowering"
as
becausethe
[within
homosexuality
associated
withbothfemininity homosexuality considered
and
was
vulnerability
in
"ineffectual the fight
(51).4 Composed by blacklesbian
againstoppression"
writers Cheryl
like
the
AudreLorde,Barbara
and Beverly
Clarke,
Smith,
Smith,
Collective
Statement
thecaseplainly:
1977 CombaheeRiver
explained
Black
feminist
...
an
to
for
connectionmovements Black
politics have obvious
those the1960s 1970s.
of
and
ofuswere
in
active
liberation,
particularly
Many
158 ROCKY
*
MOUNTAIN * FALL
REVIEW 2012

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and
Black
the
those
movements Rights, nationalism, Black
(Civil
panthers), all
their
and
ofour were
lives greatly
affected changed their
and
by
ideologies, goals,
It
and
the
tactics toachieve...

Cited: Walker."
Feminist 5.1(1985):
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