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Black Internationalist FeminismWomen Writers of the Black Left, 1945-1995$
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Cheryl Higashida

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036507

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036507.001.0001

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Rosalind on the Black Star Line

Rosalind on the Black Star Line

Alice Childress, Black Minstrelsy, and Garveyite Drag

(p.82) 3 Rosalind on the Black Star Line
Black Internationalist Feminism

Cheryl Higashida

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on Alice Childress to consider the legacy of Garveyism for the postwar Black Left. Despite historical animosity between Marcus Garvey and the Old Left, younger anticolonial radicals recognized Garvey as a political forefather. Childress's novel, A Short Walk (1979), contributed to and intervened in the renaissance of Garveyism among Black radicals and nationalists. Childress exposed Garveyism's rigid hierarchies of gender and sexuality through juxtaposing chronotopes of the ship and the traveling minstrel show. Through conventions of minstrelsy, Childress imagines an alternative space—the drag ball—that unmoors Black/American identities from heteropatriarchal roles. In exploring the radical potential of minstrel drag, Childress drew upon her experience as a Black Left actor and playwright.

Keywords:   Alice Childress, Garveyism, Back Left, minstrelsy, heteropatriarchal roles, minstrel drag

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