Toni Cade Bambara’s Black Female Champions Essay

1998 Words 8 Pages
Toni Cade Bambara’s Black Female Champions

It is well known from historical accounts, novels, poems, movies, and other sources that blacks have been abused, neglected, and mistreated in American society. In addition, a great deal has been written about the lives, hardships, and obstacles of black men.
Black women, however, have long been relegated to subordinate societal roles in relation to white men and women and black men. Black women have been viewed as monsters and suffered distortions of their image. Toni Cade Bambara, in her writings, has helped to change the image of black women. Bambara presents a very descriptive picture of what life was like for blacks, particularly women, in the North and in the South. The world, in
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Charlie’s bed" (83).

The following statistics illustrate Ms. Lincoln’s point. According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1996, in 1983, 512,000 individuals were employed as cleaners and servants. Of that total, 95.8% were female. Black females comprised 42.4% of the total of all females working in those occupations (407). In the category of maids and housemen, in 1983, 531,000 individuals provided these services. Females made up 83.1% of the total. Black females comprised 32.3% of the total of all females working as maids (407).

Toni Cade Bambara was very aware of the black environment and of black female experiences. In the foreword to the book Black Women Writers at Work, Tillie Olsen states that black women writers, such as Toni Cade Bambara, "make us profoundly conscious of what harms, degrades, denies development, destroys; of how much is unrealized, unlived; instead of ‘oppressed victims,’ they tell of the ways of resistances, resiliences" (x-xi).

Bambara was born in New York City, raised by her mother, and educated at Queens College. She was a teacher, lecturer, and political activist ("Bambara, Toni Cade"). In an interview with Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Bambara talked about her life, her family, and the issues of the black race, women, and her writings (230-49). Bambara stated in the interview that she was not raised to
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