Birthing a new world: Black women as surrogates of liberation in James Baldwin's if beale street could talk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This essay analyzes how James Baldwin's late novel If Beale Street Could Talk represents Black women's care work in the face of social death as an example of how Black women act as surrogates for Black liberation giving birth to a new world and possibilities of freedom for Black (male) people. Within the politics of Black nationalism, Black women were affective workers playing a vital role in the (re)creation of heteronormative family structures that formed the basis of Black liberation cohered by a belief in the power of patriarchy to make way for communal freedom. This essay demonstrates how Beale Street's imagining of freedom centers not on what Black women do to support themselves or each other, but on the needs of the community at large, with embodied sacrifice as a presumed condition of such liberation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-63
Number of pages15
JournalJames Baldwin Review
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 29 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Birthing a new world: Black women as surrogates of liberation in James Baldwin's if beale street could talk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this