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SLAVE SHIPS, SHAMROCKS, AND SHACKLES: TRANSATLANTIC CONNECTIONS IN BLACK AMERICAN AND NORTHERN IRISH WOMEN'S REVOLUTIONARY AUTO/BIOGRAPHICAL WRITING, 1960S-1990S
Washburn, Amy Leigh
Rosenfelt, Deborah S.
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This dissertation explores revolutionary women's contributions to the anti-colonial civil rights movements of the United States and Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. I connect the work of Black American and Northern Irish revolutionary women leaders/writers involved in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Black Panther Party (BPP), Black Liberation Army (BLA), the Republic for New Afrika (RNA), the Soledad Brothers' Defense Committee, the Communist Party-USA (Che Lumumba Club), the Jericho Movement, People's Democracy (PD), the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), the National H-Block/ Armagh Committee, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), Women Against Imperialism (WAI), and/or Sinn Féin (SF), among others by examining their leadership roles, individual voices, and cultural productions. This project analyses political communiqués/ petitions, news coverage, prison files, personal letters, poetry and short prose, and memoirs of revolutionary Black American and Northern Irish women, all of whom were targeted, arrested, and imprisoned for their political activities. I highlight the personal correspondence, auto/biographical narratives, and poetry of the following key leaders/writers: Angela Y. Davis and Bernadette Devlin McAliskey; Assata Shakur and Margaretta D'Arcy; Ericka Huggins and Roseleen Walsh; Afeni Shakur-Davis, Joan Bird, Safiya Bukhari, and Martina Anderson, Ella O'Dwyer, and Mairéad Farrell. These women address similar themes in their work either through direct communication (i.e., political communiqués and personal correspondence) and/or indirect expression (i.e., news coverage and auto/biographical responses to it). I document moments of transatlantic solidarity among them. This project also draws on interviews with selected writers for supplemental data in interpreting their personal histories and writings. This dissertation is concerned with tracing and analyzing the politics and prose/ poetry of Black American and Northern Irish women. Their cultural expressions concern revolutionary struggle. I use their work as a source of data and an object of analysis. My work establishes links between several areas: nation and anti-colonialism, race and anti-racism, gender and feminism, literature and genre, content and analysis, and theory and praxis.