Strength Within Creativity

This essay has a total of 787 words and 4 pages.

Strength Within Creativity



Despite oppression, African-American women of the past were able to overcome obstacles by taking on the role of artists. They relied on their creative spirits to carry them through their wretched existence. In Alice Walker’s essay “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens,” she explains how the mothers and grandmothers of her generation held on to their dignity and strength through their expression of creativity. The boldness represented by this creativity shows the dynamic depth of their souls and the courage they found within it. Walker gives examples of some of these women in her essay and uses this method to effectively express her point. Women such as Mahalia Jackson, Elizabeth Catlett, and Frances Harper were able to rise above negative circumstances from their past by allowing their natural creativity to shine.
Alice Walker wrote, “Our mothers and grandmothers, some of them: moving to music not yet written. And they waited. They waited for a day when the unknown thing that was in them would be made known . . . “ (Walker 695). Although they were unable to openly express their creativity, they were able to pass it on to their daughters who would have deserving opportunities to be artists. As the granddaughter of a slave on a Louisiana plantation, Mahalia Jackson had the opportunity to allow her grandmother to be known as an artist. Mahalia started her singing career at the age of sixteen as a member of the Johnson Gospel Singers and later became the official soloist of the National Baptist Convention. Speaking of her great success, she stated, “I don’t work for money. I sing because I love to sing” (Broughton 56). It is clear that women of this time were truly deep and passionate about their creativity because of their love for it. It is evident that their grandmothers live on through their lives. Although Mahalia Jackson is not mentioned in Walker’s essay, I believe she is a principal example of being a positive voice for her heritage.
Through her poetry, Frances Harper also found a voice that her grandmother never had a chance to obtain. By age fourteen, she wrote her first essay and composed several poems as a result of time spent reading to advance her education. She was so moved by the horrors of slavery that she became a permanent lecturer for the Maine Anti-S

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