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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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Chapter 13


J was the color of cake batter and honey with a face you would never get tired of looking at. His touch was delightful and the atmosphere of truth in the room devoured the deception. He already knew my secret. My southern drawl gave it away when I got comfortable in conversation and exposed my accent. He smiled when he heard it, his eyes dancing at the thought of me, but not wanting me entirely. We were not from the same place. He was not familiar with red mud and perpetual dirt roads. “Country girls don’t have enough ambition for me,” he whispered, and I wished I was anything but a country girl.

He liked the way I carried home on my hips though, “country thick” he called it. But the desperation he saw in my eyes, the need for him to rescue me, was too much.

To him, I was just regular, nothing moving in me—nothing about me that could move him to love me.

With closed eyes his hands found and held every curve on my body, making me feel as delicious as the sweet kisses we passed back and forth like lies. The lovemaking was deliberate.

bodies bare chin to neck breath on back ← 115 | 116 → held tight arms wrapped around waist lips touching near naked sweat-saturated skin hot, whole, holy forehead kisses breath held nose to cheek whispered words eyes met, staring an audience of...

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