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Shange, Ntokaze

novel experience black rights

(US, 1948– )

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Shange was educated at the University of Southern California. Begin with Betsey Brown (1985), which draws on her experience as a black teenager during the turmoil surrounding the ending of segregation in 1960s' America. The novel graphically depicts the struggles of the civil rights movement in the South as its young heroine is thrust into heightened awareness of her racial and cultural identity. Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo (1982) deals with the experience of three sisters, each with a different attitude to personal relationships. The novel shifts experimentally between conventional narrative, letters, poems, and journal entries. In Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter (1995) Shange (who is also a well-known playwright) includes extended passages of dialogue. The novel traces the divisions in the New York black community as internal class differences emerge after the civil rights victories.

Alice Walker, Toni Morrison  DH

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