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Hear Our Truths

Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood

Ruth Nicole Brown
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Hear Our Truths
    Book Description:

    Drawing on both personal experience and critical theory, Carole Boyce Davies illuminates the dynamic complexity of Caribbean culture and traces its migratory patterns throughout the Americas. Both a memoir and a scholarly study, Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zones explores the multivalent meanings of Caribbean space and community in a cross-cultural and transdisciplinary perspective. From her childhood in Trinidad and Tobago to life and work in communities and universities in Nigeria, Brazil, England, and the United States, Carole Boyce Davies portrays a rich and fluid set of personal experiences. She reflects on these movements to understand the interrelated dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality embedded in Caribbean spaces, as well as many Caribbean people's traumatic and transformative stories of displacement, migration, exile, and sometimes return. Ultimately, Boyce Davies reestablishes the connections between theory and practice, intellectual work and activism, and personal and private space.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09524-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    The vision: Black girlhood is freedom, and Black girls are free. As an organizing construct, Black girlhood makes possible the affirmation of Black girls’ lives and, if necessary, their liberation. Black girlhood as a spatial intervention is useful for making our daily lives better and therefore changing the world as we currently know it. Love guides our actions and permeates our beings. For those who do not know love, we create spaces to practice Black girlhood and sense love, to name it, claim it, and share it. What we know, what we say, our process, and what we make is...

  5. 1 Tiara: Endangered Black Girls Instruction 301
    (pp. 19-45)

    That was the most important thing she wanted me to know.

    Tiara was extremely quiet and often called “shy” by everyone in the after-school program where I met her. When I arrived at her house to interview her about her experiences in the program, her twin sister, the one with the exuberant personality, declared Tiara would go second; I was to interview her first. Her sister told me important details about her experience in the program and then sent Tiara into the living room. Tiara, or, as her sister called her, the “quiet” twin, answered most of my questions nonverbally,...

  6. 2 Black Women Remember Black Girls: A Collective and Creative Memory
    (pp. 46-97)

    “[She] reported that Jhessye’s hair had been pulled out and described Jhessye as not looking alive and that she looked like a zombie,” the document said. “[She] said that the closet where Jhessye had been looked like a grave and smelled like dead people.” (“Search for remains,” 2012)

    I want you to know and remember Jhessye Shockley.

    A 14-year-old girl from Tennessee became a trending topic when a video of her performing oral sex behind a school was posted on Facebook, and instantly went viral. (Miller, 2012)

    I want you to know and remember “Amber Cole.”

    Scott’s death clearly underscores...

  7. 3 When Black Girls Look at You: An Anti-Narrative Photo-Poem
    (pp. 98-138)

    I was there when it happened. Running a program after school in which the local school is generous enough to provide the children with “supper”—school lunch food (yuck). After gazing at the portions and figuring out what it is—a chicken patty, extra dry, stuck between a bun—the girls decided they would rather get back to SOLHOT and work on their photography project. We leave the lunchroom. The girls walked slow, taking in everyone who passes by and everything he-said, she-said. They were laughing, giggling, and pushing in jest. I reached the room, where we were working, first....

  8. 4 Bad Days: “If You Hit Me, I’m Gonna Hit You Back”
    (pp. 139-183)

    Black girlhood should not be a fight.

    Stories about fighting, violence, and punishment frequently emerged in the interview transcripts of SOLHOT girls.¹ When I asked them to tell me about their good and bad days, all of their bad-day stories were about fighting and punishment. Mostly they talked about fights between girls and acts of violence that resulted in some kind of disciplinary action. The reports and dramatic reenactments of fights along with the subsequent regret, pride, and remorse were retold as an everyday occurrence. Their detailed accounts about fighting were especially prominent because the girls responded so briefly to...

  9. 5 More than Sass or Silence: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood
    (pp. 184-217)

    Listen to Black girls. What do you hear?


    The girls referenced by Nikky Finney and so many others have been wrongly instructed that their voices are unimportant. Taught to be unseen and unheard, their silence may be self-imposed or sanctioned. Silent Black girls have a lot to say; however, without time, good relationships, and patience, their voices remain a backdrop to conversations about them. Not to be confused with personality characteristics like shy or apathetic, silent Black girls may be willfully lost in fearful power struggles that position them as mute. Though Black women and girls have historically used...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 218-230)

    Dear C—,

    When I was told that one of the students at the jail took an interest in my research on Black girlhood, I was immediately humbled. I had no idea that my work would penetrate those segregated concrete walls topped with spiraling barbed wire that swirled endlessly. But it did. Secondly, I felt immediately humiliated, because honestly, when writing about Black girls, never once did it occur to me—the visionary—to imagine you as an audience for my book, my research, or my passion. This shortsighted omission was a lesson you taught me as soon as you...

  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 231-238)
  12. Index
    (pp. 239-246)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 247-250)