Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

M. Lane Bruner

Second Advisor

Layli Maparyan

Third Advisor

David Cheshier

Fourth Advisor

Shirlene Holmes

Fifth Advisor

Akinyele Umoja

Abstract

Historically, black women have always played key roles in the struggle for liberation. A critical determinant of black women’s activism was the influence of both race and gender, as these factors were immutably married to their subjectivities. African American women faced the socio-cultural and structural challenge of sexism prevalent in the United States and also in the black community. My study examines the life of Fulani Sunni Ali, her role in black liberation, her role as the Minister of Information for the Provisional Government for the Republic of New Africa, and her communication strategies. In doing so, I evaluate a black female revolutionary nationalist’s discursive negotiation of her identity during the Black Power and Black Nationalist Movement. I also use womanist criticism to analyze interviews with Sunni Ali and archival data in her possession to reveal the complexity and diversity of black women’s roles and activities in a history of black resistance struggle and to locate black female presence and agency in Black Power. The following study more generally analyzes black female revolutionary nationalists’ roles, activities, and discursive identity negotiation during the Black Power Movement. By examining Sunni Ali’s life and the way she struggled against racism and patriarchy to advocate for Black Power and Black Nationalism, I demonstrate how her activism was a continuation of a tradition of black women’s resistance, and I extrapolate her forms of black women’s activism extant in the movement.

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