Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Africana Women's Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Josephine Bradley

Second Advisor

Dr. William Boone

Abstract

This study examines whether or not the political behaviors of black women maternal figures in traditional or nontraditional political means, influence their daughter’s future political activities. This research stems from the problem regarding the limited analysis of black mother-daughter relationships, the scholarship’s lack of analysis of how this relationship explains the origin of black women’s activism, and the limited definition of political activity, engagement, and efficacy for African-American women. Data for this research was gathered by utilizing the qualitative method of case studies and narrative analysis. Based on the data collected, the researcher found that while black women activists idolized their maternal figures, it varied whether they defined their maternal figures as activists. However, all of the participants highlighted certain tenants of black womanhood that were utilized for their physical survival as well as their survival as activists. While their maternal figures were an influence to their activism, their childhood experiences in a geographic location led to their participation in the movement more than their maternal figures. Furthermore, African-American women engage in activism and politics through collective participation, grassroots organization, nonviolent protest, and community advocacy. The conclusion drawn from this research is whether maternal figures are essential for black women’s activism. Based on this research, these maternal figures are partly influential to black women’s activism by providing them an example of black womanhood as well as the tools necessary to facilitate their activism.

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