Introduction: The Autobiographical Genre in Black Societies

  • Adetayo Alabi


I became really interested in the autobiographical genre when I was in graduate school. I started by reading African autobiographies then, and later, I read autobiographies from other Black societies. I was struck by the multiple volumes of autobiographies produced by Wole Soyinka and Maya Angelou. Both writers seem to be concentrating on the genre perhaps to make direct interventions in African and American politics. By focusing on nonfiction, Soyinka and Angelou draw attention to the power of experience to encourage communal resistance. As I thought of Soyinka and Angelou, I became more curious about studying not just their autobiographies but those of other Black people. My purpose was to discover whether I could understand Soyinka and Angelou better by examining what they share and don’t share with other Black autobiographers.


Black People African Society Sacred Grove Communal Resistance African Literature 
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© Adetayo Alabi 2005

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  • Adetayo Alabi

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