From Slave Cabins to the White House
Homemade Citizenship in African American Culture
African American mothers and wives navigating double standards
Koritha Mitchell analyzes canonical texts by and about African American women to lay bare the hostility these women face as they invest in traditional domesticity. Instead of the respectability and safety granted white homemakers, black women endure pejorative labels, racist governmental policies, attacks on their citizenship, and aggression meant to keep them in "their place."
Tracing how African Americans define and redefine success in a nation determined to deprive them of it, Mitchell plumbs the works of Frances Harper, Zora Neale Hurston, Lorraine Hansberry, Toni Morrison, Michelle Obama, and others. These artists honor black homes from slavery and post-emancipation through the Civil Rights era to "post-racial" America. Mitchell follows black families asserting their citizenship in domestic settings while the larger society and culture marginalize and attack them, not because they are deviants or failures but because they meet American standards.
Powerful and provocative, From Slave Cabins to the White House illuminates the links between African American women's homemaking and citizenship in history and across literature.
Koritha Mitchell explains know-your-place aggression
Watch the virtual book launch event featuring Koritha Mitchell in conversation with Brittney Cooper
"An essential, scholarly volume for academic and larger public library collections devoted to the literary traditions and history of African American women throughout U.S. history." --Library Journal
"Mitchell sheds light on Black homemaking in the midst of anti-Blackness and oppression." --Ms.
"Brilliant scholar and literary critic Koritha Mitchell shows us just how radical the act of successful homemaking was for Black women in the face of the violence it elicited from white people. Analyzing canonical Black women's texts, she shows us just how committed, loving, and defiant Black women have been in creating home in the world and in literature." --Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times bestselling author of What the Truth Sounds Like
"This project on homemade citizenship will reframe the conversation around anti-blackness by mapping how black women intellectuals, activists and artists continually respond and with great success to attacks and infringements upon their collective creative efforts. This work is a needed subtlety, as it approaches categories like 'achievement' and 'success' from the fabric of black cultural production, rather than the font of white supremacys violent response to black existence. From Slave Cabins to the White House encourages us to ask new questions, one of which is certainly how did we/do we make a home and sustain it creatively in the midst of ongoing hostilities?"--Sharon Patricia Holland, author of The Erotic Life of Racism
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