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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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Part I: (Daily) Bread


← 24 | 25 →


  Part One

(Daily) Bread ← 25 | 26 →


church-going and home-staying women practicing witchcraft eating herbs to make them beautiful and bearable on the inside to make up for the outside self-sacrificing women loving women wholly but not romantically urgently desperately or jealously like husbands or lovers who stay long enough to leave a seed that lingers like his scent the smell of sweat and need stinking like garbage on closed in porches traditional beauty was not an option or a luxury they could afford using hair grease for lipstick homemade soap and cocoa butter on rough skin left everything soft except knees elbows and ankles late night loving found them smacking lips rubbing rough heeled feet callused with corns ← 26 | 27 → against stiff sheets recycled from family members who could finally afford them new you never throw away anything that still has use this was true of pots, pans, shoes, and men ← 27 | 28 →

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