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A canonical story is present in Baby of the Family (1989), Ugly Ways (1993), The Hand I Fan With (1996), You Know Better (2002), and Taking After Mudear (2007)--the five novels of contemporary author Tina McElroy Ansa. That narrative involves the African-American woman's quest for belonging in an increasingly complex twentieth and twenty-first century South. Additionally, that quest tends to include a coalescence of the sacred and secular, an aspect of African spirituality. The central aim of this study is to argue the importance of Ansa's novels being included in the conversation on the relation between current African-American women's fiction and African spirituality and in the canon of African-American literature. The rationale for this argument is Ansa is one of a few African-American authors, and authors in general, who are able to claim possession of a canonical narrative throughout their body of works. Furthermore, this study will assert that many of Ansa's themes/depictions compare to those of the African-American women writers who are presently embraced in the discussion of the juxtaposition between the spirit and material worlds in African-American women's fiction. This study is in conversation with Cheryl Wall and other theorists and researchers who offer an embracement of African spirituality as a survival mechanism for African-American women in patriarchal society. This study also addresses W. E.B. Dubois' idea of double consciousness and Homi Bhabha's third space. Finally, this study aims to contribute to that conversation by finding that Ansa's texts demand a rethinking of black female identity and the public and private spaces in which black women find themselves.