Historical writing, like other disciplinary writing, comes in multiple forms—the historical narrative, historiographical essay, and, of course, theoretical/methodological essays/think pieces (Brown/Higginbotham).
The historical narrative, or for our course, the research paper, uses storytelling or narrative writing to make an argument about the past. Consequently, all of the evidence, analyses, and argumentation is manifested through and by the story. There are two approaches to historical narratives—those driven by the narrative itself, that is, plot, protagonist, etc . . . , the analytical/thematic approach, or a combination of the two.
Historian Ashley Farmer’s Ashley Farmer’s “In Search of the Black Women’s History_Archive” engages recent scholarship to speak to the ways that the “archive” is contested through power dynamics, reflecting both silences and over-representation of particular kinds of records. Literary scholar, Saidiya Hartman also highlights this dynamic in her “An Unnamed Girl, a Speculative History. ”
While reading this article by Toni Cade Bambara, it opened my eyes and made me appreciate black women even more than I already do. Bambara states “Most Black women have to work to help house, feed, and clothe their families. Black women make up a substantial percentage of the black working force, and this is true for the poorest Black family as well as the so-called ‘middle-class’ family.” As I thought more and more about this particular quote, it made me realize that women were the true breadwinners during this time period but were portrayed as the ones to do the easy work. Bambara also says “A women who stays at home caring for children and the house often leads an extremely sterile existence. She must lead her entire life as a satellite to her mate.” I 100% disagree with this considering how women were the stepping ground during that time period and even now. Women are the foundation to any and everything, black women especially. Black women has sacrificed so much for our black men that we sometimes forget to appreciate them and thank them for all they’ve done for us. I can honestly say that this article hit home with the idea that Black women aren’t appreciated as much as they should be. Also, taking into consideration that they are either downplayed or swept under the rug for achieving the greatness they achieve.
For black women, and other women of color in general, hair has always been an issue. Not only is it difficult enough to get a job with an “ethnic-sounding” name, but our natural “nappy” hair is seen in most settings as unprofessional. For example, if you’d like to do a little experiment so you can see for yourself, do a quick Google image search. First, search “professional hair”. Then search “unprofessional hair”. Unless Google has suddenly done an update in their imagery, you’ll likely find that under “professional” styles, there are a lot of white women with straightened hair. But not only that, there are several images of black women with straightened styles. However, the unprofessional category is almost entirely composed of women of color with their natural curls in a fluffy afro or even pulled into afro puffs. The world has been force feeding women of color the idea that their natural hair is something to be ashamed of. But black women have started to fight back.
The Natural Hair Movement was popularized during the 1960s and 70s with the Black Panther women rocking their afros, and black women have been carrying the fight since then and turned it into festivals of celebration for themselves. Natural Hair Festivals are increasingly popular and have spread across the sea even. For some black women, freedom just means keeping their hair healthy and having society accept that our hair isn’t meant to be straightened repeatedly.