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Abstract

In light of the theme of the 5th World Conference on Women's Studies 2019, 'Activism, Solidarity and Diversity: Feminist Movements Toward Global Sisterhood', this article contends that Sherley Anne Williams's Dessa Rose (1986) is an appeal for an American bond of sisterhood between feminists and womanists. In the process, it examines the relationship between the novel's two Black and White heroines, Dessa Rose and Ruth Sutton respectively, through the lens of Bonnie Thornton Dill's definition of sisterhood in her seminal work, Race, Class, and Gender: Prospects for an All-Inclusive Sisterhood. While discomfort and distrust encircle their first encounter in the Sutton's Glen, equality, reciprocation, and trust adorn their sisterhood in their last encounter in jail. Such a sisterhood is the aftermath of both women's realization that they are both subjects to White men's patriarchy. Williams's use of both heroines as microcosms for Black and White women addresses the widening gap in the 1980s and today between feminists and womanists for an American sisterhood in black and white.

Note on the Author

Ahmed N. Bensedik is a PhD student at the University of Buckingham.

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