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Part III - Black Geographies in Transition

Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 April 2021

Teresa Zackodnik
Affiliation:
University of Alberta
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Summary

Part III is structured by what Katherine McKittrick has called “Black geographies,” which she defines as movements through and imaginings of space that expose the ways in which it has become racialized through the placing and displacement of Black people and the rendering of Black geographic space as “uninhabitable.”1 Countering that “spatial project of domination,” she argues, “innovative Black diaspora practices … in fact, spatialize acts of survival”2 and alter what Black geographies are and can be. Physical mobility has been strongly correlated to the exercise of autonomous personhood over and against attempts to deny both to African Americans. But as McKittrick reminds us, “innovative Black diaspora practices,” even as they “spatialize,” are far from limited to movements in and through space. Rather, she argues that Black geographies are as much philosophical and imaginative as they are material. Chapter 10, “Freedom to Move,” pursues just this expansive notion of mobility and movement as Janaka Bowman Lewis argues that African American women’s multiple practices of “education, individual progress, marriage and family, labor, and intellectual commitment” should be read, effectively, as “Black geographies.” With Charlotte Forten as a case study, Bowman Lewis considers the ways in which Black women exercised their autonomous personhood through quotidian practices, in place, as well as through physical mobility through space. For her, Forten’s participation in the Port Royal project is no more significant a practice than those she watches Sea Island women undertake, and in fact it is through her acts of observation – not necessarily through her movement – that Forten is led to a self-realization or actualization of freedom.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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