The book 'The bluest eye' by Toni Morrison, is a book that interprets the struggles that African Americans faced, especially those with darker skin, to fit in and be accepted by others, through the eyes of an African American child. The theme of mothers and ancestors is shown by the author using the children to voice out the actions of their mother in speech and in internal dialogue. In the beginning of the book, Claudia gets sick and the mother doesn't like this. She responds with, "Great Jesus. Get on in that bed. How many times do I have to tell you to wear something on your head? You must be the biggest fool in this town..."(10) which is her insulting her daughter for being sick, but regardless of how she feels about what her daughter should or shouldn't have done, she still helps her get better with the help of vicks rub. Claudia then responds with, "So when I think of autumn, I think of somebody with hands who does not want me to die."(13) This gives the reader incite on how the theme of mothers and ancestors is placed, and teaches them that now matter how your mothers treat you, you are their children and they will always care for you in one way or another.
Nona Faustine is a brooklyn born artist who specialises is the field of photography. Her artwork is composed of nude photographs of her in white high heels set in New York in front of where African American slaves were once sold or burried. She is nude in her Photographs because it depicts the powerlessness of African American slaves and shows the hideous backgrounds of seemingly innocent places. She got interested in the art of photography when she was the age of 4 when her uncle gave her a camera. This wasn't her first encounter with cameras and photography as her father was a photographer and took their family photos. Something that most people are drawn to in her artwork are her white shoes high heels. This makes the audience feel like they make a certain statement that ties the whole art piece together. In an interview she was asked what the white shoes in the photographs were and she replied "They are symbolic of the white patriarchy that we cannot escape." (Dodge and burn). People might interpret this as high heels hurting womens' feet but it's something they can't help but wear.
The Black Panther Party is a group founded by African American men to fight against the oppression of black people and unite people from all races and give "all power to the people." `The documentary expresses this motto by showing the problems the panthers faced and how they resolved them. When the organisation was first formed, their aim was to get power to black folks, which they knew would come at a price. A man in the beginning of the documentary said "we're not gonna get anything, not by sitting around here and just doing nothing this sit-in demonstrations and nothing. People not gonna do anything ...[we are gonna do it] By uprising, having a revolution. Just with blood you know. Let everybody bleed a bit." This show that he knew that fighting for equal, or at least civilised rights, for Black people wasn't going to be easy but he was ready to "let everyone bleed a bit" to achieve this organisation that justified the rights of African Americans. One of the founders of the organisation, Huey Newton said " We used the Black panther as our symbol because the nature of the panther, panther doesn't strike anyone, but when he's assailed upon then he'll back up first. But if the aggressor continues, he'll strike out." To put it to terms, Newton was basically saying that the panthers signify the Black and lower community and are striking because the "aggressor", which in this case is white policemen, got what's coming because they kept on trying to aggravate the panther when he backed up. The BPP was formed on the basis of keeping the black community safe and to give them their rights has equal human beings.
The poem Present by Sonia Sanchez is a poem that talks about how african american women are not seen as beautiful enough by society and that the only way that they can be seen as beautiful is if they start valuing themselves. In the poem, she says "There is no place for a soft / black / woman. There is no smile green enough or summertime words warm enough to allow my growth... my singing becomes the only sound of a blue/black/magical/woman. walking. womb ripe. walking. loud with mornings. walking. making pilgrimage to herself." This is the author saying that although society doesn't really accept or have enough respect for African American women, the beauty that you find in yourself is the only one that matters.
The song "Interlude: Tina Taught Me", by Solange is a song that represents the oppression of black people by white people and how you can't express your blackness, nor embrace it as most white people feel intimidated by our culture and our history; try to repress it and make it seem as if we are doing something wrong and make us feel guilty. The song is written/ performed in the way of speech with music in the background rather than a melody, which makes it seem like a spoken word, which gives it a sense of more power as it gives it more of her emotion and how she feels about embracing her blackness. In the song, it says "It's such beauty in black people, and it really saddens me when we're not allowed to express that pride in being black, and that if you do, then it's considered anti-white. No! You just pro-black. And that's okay. The two don't go together." In this, she expressing how she feels when other white people say that expressing your ethnicity is wrong and you should feel bad or guilty for doing being, as she said " anti- white", which she then corrects to "pro- black." The song "Interlude: Tina Taught Me", is about how expressing your blackness and embracing your history is not demeaning white people, but is embracing the power you hold as an African American.
Yaa Gyasi interprets the theme of mothers and ancestors in different ways. The theme of mothers is clearly shown to the reader throughout the book where as the theme of ancestors is not as directly shown of more 'in the face of the reader' as the theme of mothers. Despite this, the theme still sticks with the reader very clearly. The author interprets the theme of mothers, in the first excerpt, as quite devious and nefarious as it seems that Baaba, Effia's mother, is always looking for ways to undermine her daughter, which always causes them to always be in some sort of conflict together. In the book, it says "Not even Effia's family had come, for after Baaba had convinced them all that the girl was a bad omen, no one wanted anything to do with her." This shows the reader that the mother only did things to take down the little respect and power she had in their community, and as far as we know, hurt Effia.