“There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise.” — W. E. B. Du Bois.
Resulting from historical and contemporary struggles around race, gender and sex biases, many Black women have developed extraordinary resilience, strength, courage and the ability to adapt and navigate harsh social and systematic conditions. In fact, many have found innovative ways to use their marginalized status to their advantage and are creating a space that they own.
I concluded my dissertation with a significant paradigm shift on ways to best approach and expand the discourse , and correct the destructive, slave-era narratives about Black women. The dimensions that embodies and shape Black women’s lives are best captured not in their historical and enduring oppressions- rather, it is in their stories of survival, strength, endurance, resilience, and adaptability – among a plethora of other empowering attributes that the Black woman is captured and best understood. Expanding the research about Black women’s unique, inter-sectional struggles from the point of power instead of oppression provides a more comprehensive and accurate answer to the fundamental questions, who is the Black woman, and what is her story?
The intelligent, accomplished and courageous women in my study who shared their lived experiences and observations of racism in America have inspired expanding the research. Indeed, the various dimensions of Black women are so complex that the study necessitates an in-depth exploration focused on Black women’s refined, acute, super-human like abilities to manage the challenges they face under oppressive and exploitative conditions. One thing is certain; Black women are NOT the dis-empowered hopeless characters that the dominant narrative portray them. They are far from it!