Publication Date

April 2016

Advisor(s)

Lois Brown

Major

African American Studies

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis examines the how confounding identities of Black, woman and lesbian are obstacles that hinder Black women from finding spaces of comfort and acceptance. The first chapter explores how African women during the transatlantic slave trade and Black women during slavery and the era of Jim Crow navigated social negotiations and multiple layers of oppression to survive. Chapter two and chapter three focuses extensively on two prominent lesbian figures, Ruth Ellis and Audre Lorde, that paved the way for the generations following theirs to assert their own definitions of woman, love, and self-identity through relationships with other women as well as developing one within themselves. Essentially this thesis reveals the importance of history through the stories and experiences of foremothers.

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