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On Freedom and the Will to AdornThe Art of the African American Essay$
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Cheryl A. Wall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469646909

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469646909.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

On Women, Rights, and Writing

On Women, Rights, and Writing

June Jordan and Alice Walker

(p.176) Chapter Six On Women, Rights, and Writing
On Freedom and the Will to Adorn

Cheryl A. Wall

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter charts the relationship between two prolific African American essayists, June Jordan and Alice Walker. Unlike Ellison and Baldwin, who were contemporaries but not allies, Jordan and Walker corresponded with one another, lectured together, and commented on each other’s works. It is argued that Walker and Jordan’s essays record their lifelong quest for redemptive art and politics. This project is marked by a desire for a freer, more hopeful future that comes to terms with a painful, oppressive past. As both essayists came to political consciousness during the civil rights movement, they utilized the rhetoric of rights to redefine ideas of national belonging. In doing so, they expanded the scope of the essay to includeissues of gender and sexuality. Through analyzing their essays, this chapter illustrates how Jordan and Walker in distinct, yet complementary ways, shape the art of the essay.

Keywords:   June Jordan, Alice Walker, Redemptive arts, Redemptive politics, Gender, Black Womanhood, Black Women’s literary history

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