Class Year


Access Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Sociology Department

First Advisor

Diane Harriford

Second Advisor

Hiram Perez


Black women’s trauma, which is largely unclaimed, un-mediated and unrecognized, is transgenerational. The physical, social, and psychological effects of holding on to a racialized history of trauma, caused by systematic and structural racism and sexism, continue to effect the identity formation and social conditions of Black women in the United States today. My thesis is an investigation into the relationships between historical trauma, silence, voice, and political organizing. I aim to analyze Black female agency and the politics of survival and conclude that Black women’s trauma and vulnerabilities—although painful and wrought with shame—ultimately serve the deeper purpose of facilitating a space for Black women to speak back to the traumas of violent enslavement, sexual violence, destruction of communal bonds, and infringement on their rights to survive. Thus, Black women’s survival is nothing less than sheer brilliance. Their distinct knowledge arises from the navigation of transhistorical histories of trauma and embodies the epitome of modernist projects of survival.