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Ain't Got No HomeAmerica's Great Migrations and the Making of an Interracial Left$
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Erin Royston Battat

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781469614021

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469614021.001.0001

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Beyond the Migrant Mother

Beyond the Migrant Mother

(p.95) Chapter 4 Beyond the Migrant Mother
Ain't Got No Home

Erin Royston Battat

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter argues that writers and artists from a broad racial and political spectrum used the image of the migrant mother to offer a gender-based critique of capitalist and racist oppression. The writers and artists examined pushed beyond Dorothea Lange's iconic photograph known as “Migrant Mother” to send a more urgent call for change. For example, visual artist Elizabeth Catlett created powerful images of militant black mothers, while white writer Tillie Olsen used grotesque imagery of miscarriage and murderous mothers to offer a feminist critique of capitalism. Lange's iconic photograph is another example of a “long shadow” that obscures a more racially diverse and politically charged iconography of migrant motherhood.

Keywords:   mothers, oppression, Dorothea Lange, Elizabeth Catlett, Tillie Olsen, motherhood

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