Africana Womanism: Reclaiming Ourselves, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Africana Womanism

Reclaiming Ourselves, 1st Edition

By Clenora Hudson-Weems


176 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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First published in 1993, this is a new edition of the classic text in which Clenora Hudson-Weems sets out a paradigm for women of African descent. Examining the status, struggles and experiences of the Africana woman forced into exile in Europe, Latin America, the United States or at Home in Africa, the theory outlines the experience of Africana women as unique and separate from that of some other women of color, and, of course, from white women. Differentiating itself from the problematic theories of western feminisms, Africana Womanism allows an establishment of cultural identity and relationship directly to ancestry and land.

This new edition includes five new chapters as well as an evolution of the classic Africana Womanist paradigm, to that of Africana-Melanated Womanism. It shows how race, class and gender must be prioritized in the fight against every day racial dominance. Africana Womanism: Reclaiming Ourselves offers a new term and paradigm for women of African descent. A family-centered concept, prioritizing race, class, gender, it offers 18 features of the Africana womanist (self namer, self definer, family centered, genuine in sisterhood, strong, in concert with male in struggle, whole, authentic, flexible role player, respected, recognized, spiritual, male compatible, respectful of elders, adaptable, ambitious, mothering, nurturing), applying them to characters in novels by Hurston, Bâ, Marshall, Morrison and McMillan. It evolves from Africana Womanism to Africana-Melanated Womanism.

This is an important work and essential reading for researchers and students in Women and Gender Studies, Africana Studies, African- American Studies, Literary Studies and Cultural Studies.


"Clenora Hudson-Weems continues her robust theoretical and analytical inquiry into the nature of Africana Womanism with this powerful work. Unquestionably, Hudson-Weems is the most important theorist writing on this aspect of the African world. I recommend this book and suggest that it should be high on the list of valuable contributions to your syllabus and general reading. Salute!"

Molefi Kete Asante, PhD, who coined the term Afrocentricity, Founding Chair, Department of Africology, Temple U; author of The History of Africa

"Three things are primary to any discussion of Womanist thought: the people, the language and the land. In this New Edition, Clenora Hudson-Weems links these key features while reminding us of race, gender and family centrality to Black communal wholeness. As one of the originators of womanist thought, everything Hudson-Weems has to say about the subject is important to know. The book’s new section makes this text not only important but also essential to any serious study of Africana womanist thought and its contemporary development. She offers complex and provocative discussions that deepen our consideration of what an Africana womanist is, does, perceives, and preserves. I recommend it for courses and personal, intellectual gratification. Às?e?".

Rev. Debra Walker King, PhD, U of FL, Prof/Author, African Americans and the Culture of Pain

"Congratulations to Dr. Hudson-Weems for yet another pace-setting and mind-liberating volume. Africana Womanism (New Edition) is not just an idea in the academe. More important, it is a living part of the everyday energy and struggles for self-definition and self-naming that Africans, wherever they are, pursue with unmitigated commitment."

Itai Muhwati, PhD, Dean of Faculty, U of Zimbabwe, editor of Dariro: African Theory of Participation and Performance

"Clenora continues to advance Africana Womanism theory in this important volume, wherein the process began with self-naming and self-defining. This allows for a solid identifying and refining of an African-centered paradigm for worldwide Africana-Melanated women. From this, the ultimate ensues, as the theory, characterized by affirmation and engagement, seeks to unite the Africana woman and man in the on-going struggle for human survival. Thus, in the final analysis, it enables them to advance their positions in their communities, their countries and the world."

Adele S. Newson-Horst, PhD, Author, Professor of English, Morgan State U

"Africana Womanism represents Dr. Clenora Hudson-Weems’ perception about the urgent need for Africana-Melanated people to strategize workable means by which to solidify true survival for our own. The question is, "If we don’t, then who will make possible the continuation of our legacy? This book speaks directly to the issue of justice, and that means real equity for all on all levels, race, class and gender. It’s a meaningful book for all to read!"

Lillian A. Smith, Entrepreneur and Former Senior Producer for the Award-Winning PHIL DONAHUE SHOW

Table of Contents


Foreword ‘Zulu Sofola, PhD—Professor, Head, Department of the Performing Arts, U of Ilorin, Kwan State, Nigeria, 1993 (from 1st Edition)

Ama Mazama, PhD—Professor, Department of Africology, Temple U, 2018

James B. Stewart, PhD—Professor Emeritus, Labor Employment Relations & Africana Studies; Vice Provost, Penn State U, 2018


Introduction Daphne Williams Ntiri, PhD—Wayne State U




Chapter I Africana Womanism: Black Feminism, African Feminism, Womanism

Chapter II "Cultural & Agenda Conflicts in Academia: Critical Issues for Africana Women’s Studies," (reprint, Western Journal of Black Studies, Winter 1989)

Chapter III Africana Womanism: A Theoretical Need and Practical Usefulness

Chapter IV The Agenda of the Africana Womanist



PART TWO Five Africana Womanist Novels

Chapter V Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God: Seeking Wholeness

Chapter VI Ba’s So Long a Letter: A Family Affair

Chapter VII Marshall’s Praisesong for the Widow: Authentic Existence

Chapter VIII Morrison’s Beloved: All Parts Equal

Chapter IX McMillan’s Disappearing Acts: In It Together



PART THREE From Africana Womanism to Africana-Melanated Womanism

Chapter X Authenticating and Validating Africana Womanism: A Global Paradigm for Human Survival


Chapter XI Africana Womanism’s Race, Class, Gender: Pre-Intersectionality


Chapter XII Africana-Melanated Womanism: Forging Our Way (Keynote Address- 2nd International Africana Womanism Conference, 2019)


Chapter XIII Africana-Melanated Womanism and the King-Parks-Till Connection

Chapter XIV Conclusion


Afterword Mark Christian, PhD—Chair and Professor of Africana Studies, Lehman College, City University of New York


Epilogue Elaine L. Turner--Founder; Owner, Heritage Tours, Memphis, TN

Bibliography From 1st Edition, Africana Womanism: Reclaiming Ourselves


Bibliography 2 New Edition (Part III)


Annotated Bibliography Africana Womanism: A Blueprint


Appendix Sample Syllabus--Africana-Melanated Womanist Writers



Illustration Africana Womanism Globe


About the Author

Clenora Hudson-Weems--Professor, Author, Film Writer, received the PhD (U of Iowa); MA (Atlanta U); BA (LeMoyne-Owen College); Certificate of French Studies (L’Université de Dijon). Author of 3 books on Africana Womanism, including Africana Womanist Literary Theory (2004), she coined the concept. The first to establish Till’s lynching as catalyst of Civil Rights Movement in her 1988 Ford Doctoral Dissertation, "Emmett Till: The Impetus of the Modern Civil Rights Movement." She is the author of four Till books, including Emmett Till: The Sacrificial Lamb of the Civil Rights Movement (1994); The Definitive Emmett Till: Passion & Battle of a Woman for Truth & Intellectual Justice (2006) and Emmett—Legacy, Redemption & Forgiveness (2014); Co-author, with Wilfred Samuels (U of Utah), Toni Morrison (1990), the first book on the author. She is editor of Contemporary Africana Theory, Thought & Action: A Guide to Africana Studies (2007).. Recipients of numerous awards, she was distinguished Honoree for the 1st International Africana Womanism Conference at the U of Zimbabwe, 2010.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies