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Creating Spaces for Black Adolescent Girls to “Write It Out!”


  • Gholnecsar E. Muhammad


Identity and literacy development are two critical processes shaping the life trajectories of adolescents. Identity development in particular can present unique issues for Black adolescent girls, who are positioned in ways to negotiate their identity(ies) when presented with hegemonic language and representations of what is beauty and what is “Black.” Writing becomes a key literacy practice for Black adolescent girls to make meaning of their identity(ies). Although there are a growing number of studies on literacy and identity development of Black adolescent girls, few studies address writing. A single case study is conducted with a Black adolescent girl who struggles with selfhood to explore how she makes meaning of her identity through writing. She discusses writing within a Black adolescent female summer writing institute juxtaposed with school classrooms. Writing within the summer institute afforded opportunities for her to self-exert selfhood, while in-school writing assignments offer little opportunities for self-expression.