• LIBERATORY EXPRESSIONS: BLACK WOMEN, RESISTANCE AND THE CODED WORD, AN AFRICOLOGICAL EXAMINATION

      Asante, Molefi Kete, 1942-; Mazama, Ama, 1961-; Johnson, Amari; Nehusi, Kimani S. K.; Temple, Christel N. (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      Word coding can be traced to the ancient Kemetic practice of steganography (referring to hiding place or hidden message). Unless the reader is aware of the meaning, the Coded Word can often appear as just art. Afrocentric scholarship however, also incorporates the idea of functionality. Aesthetics, throughout African history, and to this day, serve a purpose. The beautiful quilts sewn by enslaved Black women served dual functions, as bed coverings and as symbols of resistance and liberation. The decorative wrought-ironwork found on gates and doors throughout the United States serves as a Sankofic reminder and protector. The highly coded language in the aesthetics of the Black Power/Black Arts Movement, shifted paradigms. Though the practice of word coding remains an active part of contemporary Black culture, there is a disconnection between the action and the aim (or function); a direct result of the destructive efforts of colonization. Today’s racially charged and oftentimes dangerous climate calls for a reexamination of word coding as a liberatory tool. I created the theory of the Coded Word to analyze three novels by Black women who are unique in their forms of word coding, just as they are characteristically distinct in their forms of expression. The findings for the three novels have resulted in the first three entries into the Glossary of the Coded Word, a resource to be used by Black people in resistance to oppression and in the struggle for liberation of all Black people.