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"How We Got Ovah"

Title: "How We Got Ovah": Afrocentric Spirituality in Black Arts Movement Women's Poetry.
Name(s): Green, Dara Tafakari, author
McGregory, Jerrilyn, professor directing thesis
Montgomery, Maxine, committee member
Moore, Dennis, committee member
Department of English, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2007
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This study, using poetry by Carolyn Rodgers, Sarah Webster Fabio, Sonia Sanchez, Sharon Bourke, Ntozake Shange and Jayne Cortez, examines the manifestations of Afrocentric spirituality in women's writing during the Black Arts Movement. Until recently, there has been a paucity of scholarship on the movement. When studying the BAM, critics have heretofore concentrated on sexism, homophobia, nationalism, and racism as its most prominent aspects. However, BAM writers also have a marked concern with spirituality from an African epistemological standpoint, which brings new possibilities for critical analysis to the forefront. Theorists such as Larry Neal furthermore termed the movement as a spiritual sister to the Black Power Movement. This project contributes to the burgeoning conversation on BAM women's poetry by evaluating the ways in which they deem spirituality as essential for agency as women and as black citizens. I identify three major themes in which women's spirituality serves as a prerequisite for or an enabler of black liberation and revolution. Chapter One explains how Carolyn Rodgers, in her books Songs of a Blackbird and How I Got Ovah, creates personas that initially reject Christianity as a Eurocentric religious construction, but subsequently acknowledge the Afrocentric spirituality of the black church and ascribe to it a revolutionary blackness. Chapter Two demonstrates, through Ntozake Shange's for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf and Sonia Sanchez's I've Been a Woman, that women must first give birth to themselves spiritually before they can successfully accomplish the birth of the black nation. Chapter Three examines five poems by Carolyn Rodgers, Jayne Cortez, Sonia Sanchez, Sarah Webster Fabio, and Sharon Bourke, arguing that black women poets activate nommo, the power of words to influence action, when they write jazz poetry; as cultural and spiritual leaders in their own rights, they serve as a type of co-priestess to the black community when they recognize the jazz artist as a spiritual priest. Conclusively, I determine that there is indeed space for the recognition of the intended spiritual goals and accomplishments of the Black Arts Movement, and especially of marginalized black women's poetry.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-4007 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of English in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester, 2007.
Date of Defense: June 25, 2007.
Keywords: Black Arts Movement, Women's Poetry, Spirituality, Afrocentricity
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Jerrilyn McGregory, Professor Directing Thesis; Maxine Montgomery, Committee Member; Dennis Moore, Committee Member.
Subject(s): English literature
Persistent Link to This Record:
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Host Institution: FSU

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Green, D. T. (2007). "How We Got Ovah": Afrocentric Spirituality in Black Arts Movement Women's Poetry. Retrieved from