Carrie Williams Clifford's Poetic Response To Racial Injustice: A Call To Action And A Demand For Justice
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentEnglish and Languages
ProgramMaster of Arts
RightsThis item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.
The purpose of this study is twofold: (1) to write a biography of Carrie Williams Clifford and (2) to examine, using Clifford's volumes of verse, Race Rhymes (1911) and The Widening Light (1922), her poetic responses to events that occurred during a tumultuous period of social and political development in African American history. Using the 1971 edition of The Widening Light, which also includes Race Rhymes, this study employs biographical and historical theory to explore Clifford's depiction of historical incidents of racial discrimination, violence against African Americans, and the Black community's ardent attempt to achieve racial equality in a society that denied their rights. Clifford was a clubwoman, educator, orator, writer as well as a civil rights and gender activist who used poetry to protest injustice. Clifford was a colleague and acquaintance of well-known African American literary and historical figures and was prominent during her lifetime (1862-1934); yet her life and writings continue to receive relatively little research attention. The Widening Light (1922) positions Clifford as the second black female writer to publish a volume of poetry between 1911-1942 in the United States, therefore, validating her status as a significant historical and literary figure.