Within these two extreme views of woman - the mother who brings death and destruction versus the mother who brings life and salvation - where does the Black American mother stand? It seems to me that it would not be inappropriate to look at the literature, not as mere fiction, but rather as an interpretation and compilation of history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and a host of other areas. Thus the true literary artist reveals life more accurately and with more insight than any historical facts and statistical details, because he deals with the truth of the human heart, with the realities of man in society. Therefore, let us consider what our literary artists have had to say about the role of the Black American mother.

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Copyright © 1979 Anchor Press/Doubleday. This chapter first appeared in Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Women in Literature.

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