Drawing on the collected archives of distinguished twentieth-century Black woman writers such as Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, Toni Cade Bambara, Lorraine Hansberry, and others, Marina Magloire traces a new history of Black feminist thought in relation to Afro-diasporic religion. Beginning in the 1930s with the pathbreaking ethnographic work of Katherine Dunham and Zora Neale Hurston in Haiti and ending with the present-day popularity of Afro-diasporic spiritual practices among Black women, she offers an alternative genealogy of Black feminism, characterized by its desire to reconnect with ancestrally centered religions like Vodou.
Magloire reveals the tension, discomfort, and doubt at the heart of each woman’s efforts to connect with ancestral spiritual practices. These revered writers are often regarded as unchanging monuments to Black womanhood, but Magloire argues that their feminism is rooted less in self-empowerment than in a fluid pursuit of community despite the inevitable conflicts wrought by racial capitalism. The subjects of this book all model a nuanced Black feminist praxis grounded in the difficult work of community building between Black women across barriers of class, culture, and time.
Marina Magloire is assistant professor of English at Emory University.
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