National Denial of Black Working Mothers in Sarah E. Wright’s This Child’s Gonna Live
Sarah Elizabeth Wright was a radical writer committed to leftist, anti-racist and feminist politics. Her novel draws on these commitments to imagine the layers of rejection experienced by southern black women workers in Maryland. Climates of rejection problematize the exclusionary legacies of the New Deal’s Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program. The narrative affects challenge social discourses that pathologized poor black women’s reproduction in order to deny them a place in the national body politic and the national family. When the novel places the laboring mother and her family in the laps of readers, Wright therefore poses crucial questions for her time: how responsible are we for inherited conditions and will we continue to reject our kin?
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