Narratives (Re)Creating Racial Identity: Writing Out Loud and Speaking Past Doubt

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies


Micere Githae Mugo


Autobiography, Identity, Oral narratives, Post-racial, Written narratives

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


When President Barack Obama won the democratic presidential nomination in 2008, pundits across the nation began to argue that race was no longer a problem in the United States. However, because the United States’ social, economic and political foundation was built upon the exploitation of persons of color at the hands of white landowning men, these structures privileging whites over persons of color are embedded into the way each individual in America continues to see themselves. The ways in which individuals construct their identities and the identities of others is based, in large part, on race. By analyzing autobiographies published since 2000 in coordination with spoken narratives collected in the summer of 2014, the racial narratives of today become clear. Just like cotton and the plantations on which it was grown, race is embedded in the fabric of our lives and the stories we tell about ourselves.


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