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Black Women and Narratives of Resilience, Revised Edition


Robin Boylorn

Sweetwater: Black Women and Narratives of Resilience is a multi-generational story of growing up black and female in the rural south. At times heartbreaking, at times humorous, Sweetwater captures the artistry, strength, language and creativity shared by first-hand accounts of black women in small-town North Carolina during the twentieth century. The book uncovers the versatility and universality of black women’s experiences and their exceptional capacity to love in the face of adversity, and hope in the midst of calamity. Sweetwater is about the black female experience as it relates to friendship, family, spirituality, poverty, education, addiction, mental illness, romantic relationships, and everyday survival. The merging themes show the resilience and resistance that black women exhibit while negotiating the intersecting oppressions of racism, classism, and sexism.

Written from field notes and memory, the author reveals the complexities of black women’s lived experiences by exposing the communicative and interpersonal choices black women make through storytelling. Narrative inquiry and black feminism are offered as creative educational tools for discussing how and why black women’s singular and interior lives are culturally and globally significant.

This revised edition preserves the original narratives but features new content including re-views, re-visions and re-considerations for re-writing autoethnography.

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Sweetwater Re/View(s): Book Reviews/Book Forum Excerpts


← 142 | 143 →


  Sweetwater Re/View(s)

Book Reviews/Book Forum Excerpts

Sweetwater has been taken up in both academic and community spaces, including classrooms, roundtables, book readings, book clubs, signings, lectures, conference panels, and talk backs. This chapter includes excerpts of published and previously unpublished responses to Sweetwater, including passages from a book forum in the Spring 2015 issue of Departures in Critical Qualitative Research (formerly Qualitative Communication Research). The book forum featured solicited book reviews alongside select responses from panels at the 2013 National Communication Association Convention, and the 2014 International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. The chapter also includes an excerpt from the book review “Kindred Narratives: Reflections of Southern Black Orality in Sweetwater,” by Aisha Durham, which was originally published in Qualitative Inquiry (2015) and republished in the Departures forum. “Small Doses,” a book review published in The Qualitative Report by Sabrina Cherry, is shared in its entirety, followed by unpublished responses given during a book reaction panel, entitled “Sweetwater along the Potomac” at the 2013 National Communication Association convention in Washington, DC.

The full articles can be obtained by accessing the cited original source. ← 143 | 144 →


Sweet Mentoring (Excerpt) Carolyn Ellis Carolyn Ellis, “Sweet Mentoring,” Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 4, no. 1 (2015): 84-85. Reprinted with permission from University of California Press. All rights reserved.

Robin takes my class in autoethnography; she takes Art’s class in narrative; she takes all the classes...

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