Black Feminist Geographies and Autobiography

Authors: Natasha Howard*, University of New Mexico
Topics: Black Geographies, Ethnic Geography
Keywords: Black, Feminist, Geography, Autobiography
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 49
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper contributes to the expanding body of work in Black feminist geography by undertaking a critical analysis of the life of Angela Davis in relationship to concepts such as: mobility, travel and trespass. More specifically, I analyze spatial stories that intersect freedom, belonging and liberation during key periods in Angela Davis’ life. These periods include (1) growing up in the racially segregated spaces of Birmingham, Alabama, (2) flight from the police and incarceration (3) life as a student in Europe and (4) teaching at UCLA. Through a close examination of Davis’ autobiographical writing, I unpack the spatial stories that tell how she experienced freedom, even in spaces where Black women were deemed illicit trespassers. I argue that freedom and liberation are not the same. Davis’ stories highlight how Black women may experience freedom even in antiblack space, and that this experience of freedom, no matter how small, creates the possibility of imagining real liberation from white supremacy.

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