Digging in Our Mothers’ Gardens: Unearthing Formations of Black Womanhood

Author(s): Ayana Flewellen

Year: 2017


Alice Walker’s 1974 essay, "In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens," ask "just exactly who, and of what, we black American women are." In searching for her own mother’s personhood, Walker explores the garden as a space of self-making where formations of identity took root for black women who lived during the 19th and 20thcenturies. Through this lens the garden becomes a space where black women during the 19th and 20th centuries shaped an existence counter to what would later be institutionalized as Black Codes and Jim Crow segregation. The garden becomes a metaphor for spaces where axis of race, gender and class intersect to reveal the complexity of identity formations. Through an artifact analysis of the Ransom and Sarah Williams Farmstead this paper examines Walker’s theorization of space, within a black feminist framework, to unearth the materiality of African American women’s identity formations during post-emancipation Texas. 

Cite this Record

Digging in Our Mothers’ Gardens: Unearthing Formations of Black Womanhood. Ayana Flewellen. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435304)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 718