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The Force of Being, Life Stories, and Counter-Narrative: A Brief Comment on Cultural Trauma and Resiliency

  • Danjuma G. Gibson
Chapter
Part of the Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice book series (BRWT)

Abstract

Chapter 4 examines what may have compelled Frederick Douglass to write four autobiographies over the course of his life. In this chapter, the third theme required to cultivate one’s interior force of being is examined; the creation of life stories—the practice of bearing witness to one’s personhood by constructing, deconstructing, and reconstructing personal testimony and life narratives. In an extreme environment such as the slavocracy, the redemptive practice of creating life-stories reflects positing counter-narratives that subvert the death-dealing master-narratives used to justify and sacralize the enslavement of Frederick Douglass and his fellow contemporaries. While some Douglass-scholars may tend to objectively identify inconsistencies in the autobiographies, I suggest that changes in the way Douglass presents himself is in response to his interior force of being; a contextually contingent counter-resistance to the degradation of his humanity in the slavocracy and postbellum era.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danjuma G. Gibson
    • 1
  1. 1.Calvin Theological SeminaryGrand RapidsUSA

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