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Meridian lecture notes.docx - Meridian by Alice Walker...

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Meridianby Alice Walker lecture series (Barbara Boswell)‘Meridian’ Lecture 1 - 17 AprilBarbara BoswellA fictionalised account of one woman’s experience in the civil rights movement as a student in thismovement.Experiences of racism and sexism; how Walker positions Meridian in relation to these differenttypes of oppressionsPublished in 1976Pathways into a text:oContextcivil rights movementoFormoContentcivil rights movement in America1960: date that is named in the novelContext: The civil rights movementoNovel published in the civil rights periodoJim Crow = the oppression and segregation similar to Apartheid in ‘style’oUS Civil Right Movement:A national movement (decade-long)20thcentury1950s – 1990s and beyondto secure equality before the law for African-Americans in the USAaims to eradicate racial discrimination against African-AmericansoUS slavery officially abolished in 1865 after Civil WaroPeriod of Reconstruction in the South1865-77Attempts to redress the injustices of slavery – political, social and economicNorthern states more amenable to black integration. Many black Americans movedthereoBacklash to the Reconstruction efforts:Dispossession of land – land often taken back by the state without muchcompensation (seen in the novel)DisenfranchisementHuman rights abuses against black Americans – lynching“Jim Crow” segregation laws 1880 – 1960sofficial racial segregation (functions inmuch the same way as Apartheid in SA)omovement to liberate black Americans from their position of oppressionoKey events (forms of activism):seen in the novel through Meridian1954 Rev Brown1955 Rosa Parks1957 nine black students1963 Freedom RidersoGains:
Civil rights ActThe Voting Rights ActThe Fair Housing ActOrganisations in the Civil Rights Movement:oThe New Left – communist, leftist organisation; aimed for a communist, socialist way of life;severely prosecuted and persecuted – leaders often charged with treasonoBlack Nationalist Movement:The Black Pantherspolitical partyReligious organisations and leaderse.g. Martin Luther King Jnr., Malcolm X andthe Nation of IslamNational Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP)oStudent organisationsStudent Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)National organisation that was operation on campuses throughout the USAoWomen’s Liberation Movement / Feminist MovementContestation within Black Nationalist and Student organisationsThere was often contestation between feminists and activists (often male-centred)contestations around gender and became more intense as the movementsprogressedThe novel speaks about a context around a woman who is involved in bothmovementsthe position she articulates in this novel is one from a location whereshe is involved in bothGrappling with being a student activist, female and blackAs a university student on a campus in Georgia that is exclusively for womenStokely Carmichael:

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Feminism, Meridian, White people

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