Williams, Sherley Anne
Sherley Anne Williams 1944–
(Also Shirley Williams) American novelist, poet, critic, and author of children's books.
The following entry provides an overview of Williams's career through 1992.
Williams is highly regarded for her 1986 novel Dessa Rose, a fictional account of the life of an escaped slave. Focusing on blues music, her ancestry and upbringing, and the role and contributions of blacks—particularly black women—in American society, Williams's writings attempt to bring the female African-American experience into the American literary canon.
Born in Bakersfield, California, Williams spent her early childhood in a Fresno housing project and often worked with her parents in fruit and cotton fields. Her father died of tuberculosis before her eighth birthday, and her mother died when Williams was sixteen. Consequently, she was raised by an older sister, whom she cites as a major influence on her life. Williams was also deeply affected by a particularly helpful science teacher as well as Richard Wright's Black Boy (1945), Eartha Kitt's Thursday's Child (1956), and other books by black authors. She has stated: "It was largely through these autobiographies I was able to take heart in my life." Williams studied at Fresno State College and Fisk, Howard, and Brown universities before deciding to become a writer. She has taught at the California State University, Fresno, where she earned a B.A. in history, and at the University of California, San Diego.
Give Birth to Brightness (1972), a collection of critical essays focusing on the achievements of such twentieth-century African-American writers as Amiri Baraka, James Baldwin, and Ernest J. Gaines, offers thematic analyses of their work and of black archetypes appearing in their fiction. Williams has described the book as "a public statement of how I feel about and treasure one small aspect of Blackness in America." Williams's 1975 verse collection, The Peacock Poems, is considered highly autobiographical and largely influenced by blues music. Focusing in part on her son's development and her role as a single mother, the volume is noted for its representation of Black English. The volume also contains, as Williams has noted, "something of that early, early life when my father and mother were alive and we followed the crops." Her autobiographical children's book, Working Cotton (1992), further explores her childhood, chronicling one day in the life of a young girl, Shelan, who works as a farmhand with her parents in the cotton fields of California. The pieces contained in Some One Sweet Angel Chile (1982) expand on the blues motifs employed in The Peacock Poems. These poems are grouped into sections, including one that is comprised of letters written by a black woman born out of slavery who goes to teach newly freed slaves in the South. Another section pays tribute to the "Empress of Blues," "the sweet angel chile" Bessie Smith, while the final section, "The Iconography of Childhood," incorporates memories of Williams's youth, juxtaposing the children's voices represented in earlier sections of the book with their adult counterparts. Two economically disadvantaged women are at the center of Williams's first novel and most highly acclaimed work, Dessa Rose. Employing alternating viewpoints, the book recounts the memories of its title character, a whip-scarred, pregnant slave jailed for committing violent crimes against white men. Dessa recalls her life on the plantation with her lover, who was killed by their master. In turn, Dessa attacked the master's wife, was arrested and chained to other slaves in a coffle, and ultimately escaped by killing her white captors during a slave rebellion. Tracked down and sentenced to die, Dessa is put in prison until the birth of her child—whom the whites view as valuable property and a future source of income. During her incarceration, she is interviewed by Adam Nehemiah, a white author who expects to become famous by publishing an analysis of her crimes. Dessa escapes again, giving birth to her child while on the run. She eventually finds refuge with other runaway slaves on a plantation run by Ruth Elizabeth "Rufel" Sutton, a poor white woman. While Dessa is recovering from the baby's birth, Rufel takes pity on the infant and begins nursing it, an act that leads to a special bond of friendship between the two women. In a scam designed by the runaways, Rufel earns money by selling the runaways as slaves, waiting for them to escape, and, once reunited, starting the process again. All goes well until Dessa is spotted by the enraged Nehemiah, but the two women elude capture with the help of another woman. Williams has said she hoped Dessa Rose would "heal some wounds" made by racism in the wake of slavery. In her view, she explained, fiction is one way to conceive of "the impossible … and putting these women together, I could come to understand something not only about their experience of slavery but about them as women, and imagine the basis for some kind of honest rapprochement between black and white women."
Williams's favorable reception among critics is largely attributed to the success of Dessa Rose. Although occasionally faulted as clichéd, the novel has been lauded for its focus on female slaves, a group that has largely been ignored in historical and fictional accounts of American history. Recognized for its use of dialect and its emphasis on the relationship between language, identity, and power, the novel is also praised for offering multiple perspectives on nineteenth-century social thought; for example, critics note that the progression of the novel's three sections—which are entitled "The Darky," "The Wench," and "The Negress"—delineate an evolving, increasingly enlightened view of female slaves as human beings and not merely property. Dessa Rose has also been praised for its focus on the role of women—black and white—in the antebellum South, and discussion of the friendship that develops between Rufel and Dessa is considered central to any analysis of the story. Michele Wallace has written: "Dessa Rose reveals both the uniformities and the idiosyncrasies of 'woman's place,' while making imaginative and unprecedented use of its male characters as well. Sherley Anne Williams's accomplishment is that she takes the reader someplace we're not accustomed to going, someplace historical scholarship may never take us—into the world that black and white women shared in the antebellum South. But what excites me the most, finally, about this novel is its definition of friendship as the collective struggle that ultimately transcends the stumbling-blocks of race and class." Although mainly known for Dessa Rose, Williams has also achieved critical acclaim with Give Birth to Brightness, which is considered a seminal survey of African-American literature, and The Peacock Poems, which was nominated for a National Book Award.
Give Birth to Brightness: A Thematic Study in Neo-Black Literature (criticism) 1972
The Peacock Poems [as Shirley Williams] (poetry) 1975
Some One Sweet Angel Chile (poetry) 1982
Dessa Rose (novel) 1986
Working Cotton (children's book) 1992
(The entire section is 31 words.)
SOURCE: "Some Art for Blacks' Sake," in The New York Times, July 8, 1972, p. 23.
[Watkins is an American editor, journalist, and writer of children's books. In the following excerpt, he offers a generally favorable assessment of Give Birth to Brightness, commenting in particular on Williams's theories regarding "neo-black" writing.]
During the last few years, questions concerning the pertinence of black literature to the black community have been hotly debated, along with the possibility of establishing a viable criterion for judging literature. Various writers and critics have suggested theories of a "black esthetic," but generally these theories have eschewed aspects of form and have focused on the themes and subject matter treated by black authors. Consequently, rather than providing strictly esthetic guidelines, they have usually offered what might more properly be termed a theory of black sensibility—a significant accomplishment in itself. As it is further refined, this theory may obviate discussion of a separate esthetic dealing with form. Sherley Anne Williams's Give Birth to Brightness is a book that should give more impetus to that development.
It is a survey of black fiction from the 19th century to the present, but it focuses on those contemporary works that the author labels "neo-black" writing. According to Miss Williams, neo-black writing is characterized...
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SOURCE: A review of The Peacock Poems, in Kirkus Reviews, Vol. XLIII, No. 16, August 15, 1975, pp. 990-91.
[In the following, the critic favorably assesses The Peacock Poems.]
Overlooking the fact that the plumed, strutting bird Shirley Williams so nearly identifies with happens to be male, this autobiographical cycle of poetry [The Peacock Poems]—Williams' first book—genuinely engages your sympathies. This is all about how "every woman is a victim of the feel blues, too" and it comes together, piece by piece, from the poet's desertion by the father of her child, to a metaphorical statement on the situation of the black woman vis-a-vis her no-good man. In between there are insets about her people who pick cotton in the San Joaquin Valley, "brothas" and "sistas" who speak in that richly poetic dialect called Black English. There's an awful lot of the "One-Sided Bed Blues" as well as a few explorations in a more passionate vein; some tender words for her little boy; and it comes full circle—as identity crises do—to a song for "Our Mothers." Williams is a creditable writer who puts her soul into her work, wholly and unreservedly.
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SOURCE: A review of Some One Sweet Angel Chile, in Commonweal, Vol. CIX, No. 21, December 3, 1982, p. 668.
[Hacker is an American poet and critic. In the following, she offers praise for Some One Sweet Angel Chile.]
Some One Sweet Angel Chile, by Sherley Anne Williams speaks in tongues and sings in many voices. It begins with an elegant and revelatory series of epistolary poems, "Letters From a New England Negro," written in the persona of an educated young black woman gone south, in 1867, to teach her newly-freed people. She learns as much as she teaches; the contradictions and rewards of the life she has left, as well as the situation she has come to are unfolded with a clarity and complexity that were as satisfying to this reader as a 500-page novel. In a completely different vocabulary and rhythm, the middle sequence of poems celebrates Bessie Smith, and illuminates another facet of the history and heroism of black women. Here, in cadences echoing the blues, the author animates a chorus of men and women around the legendary Bessie to give a rounded and reverberating oratorio. The book's last section, in contemporary voices, often has for landscape the poet's native Southern California. The primacy of music continues as a theme, along with the complexity of relationships between black women and men. With a different perspective, the poet reexamines family, history, and the interstices...
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SOURCE: An interview in Black Women Writers at Work, edited by Claudia Tate, Continuum, 1983, pp. 205-13.
[Tate is an American editor, critic, and short story writer. In the interview excerpted below, Williams discusses her writing process, aims as a writer, and her thoughts on blues music.]
[Tate]: How does being black and female constitute a particular perspective in your work?
[Williams]: I don't think I keep my being black and female self-consciously in mind. I just assume...
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SOURCE: "Friendship in Chains," in The New York Times, July 12, 1986, p. 12.
[Lehmann-Haupt is a critic and novelist. In the following positive review, he offers praise for Dessa Rose.]
As Sherley Anne Williams explains in an introductory note to Dessa Rose, her first novel, the story is based on two historical incidents. In one, she writes:
A pregnant black woman helped to lead an uprising on a coffle (a group of slaves chained together and herded, usually to market) in 1829 in Kentucky. Caught and convicted, she was sentenced to death; her hanging, however, was delayed until after the birth of her baby.
In the other, a white woman living on an isolated farm in North Carolina "was reported to have given sanctuary to runaway slaves" in 1830, or just a year later. Reading about these two incidents—the one in an essay by the black activist Angela Davis, the other in a book by the Marxist historian Herbert Aptheker—Sherley Anne Williams reflected "how sad" it was that these two women "never met."
Well, in Dessa Rose, named after the slave woman, they do meet finally. But it is not the simple and happy event that the author's exclamation "how sad" implies. Ms. Williams—who is the author of two books of poetry, Some One Sweet Angel Chile and The Peacock Poems, and who teaches literature...
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SOURCE: "On the Lam from Race and Gender," in The New York Times Book Review, August 3, 1986, p. 7.
[Bradley is an American novelist and educator; his works include South Street (1975) and The Chaneysville Incident (1981). In the following review, he analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of Dessa Rose.]
Two things can happen when poets venture into fiction. They can approach the business with the arrogant (or naive) assumption that they already understand the purposes and problems of fiction, and end up producing books which, while sometimes pyrotechnic in terms of poetry, are duds in terms of prose. This, alas, is the usual case. Sometimes, however, a gifted poet comes to the novel with a humble determination to do what fiction has to do: tell a story worth telling. The product in this case is not only good fiction, but fiction enlivened by symbolic connections and daring imagery—elements that those who write only prose often neglect. It must have been with such a desire that Sherley Anne Williams, whose Peacock Poems was nominated for the 1976 National Book Award, began her first novel, Dessa Rose. For what she has written is an absorbing fusion that is both elegant poetry and powerful fiction.
The plot of Dessa Rose was born of two accounts from the antebellum South. The first concerns a pregnant black woman who reportedly led an uprising among a...
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SOURCE: "The Seraglio, The Plantation—Intrigue and Survival," in Ms., Vol. XV, No. 3, September, 1986, pp. 20-1.
[Gillespie is an American critic and editor who has worked for Esquire and Ms. magazines. In the following excerpt, she positively reviews Dessa Rose.]
[In Dessa Rose, Sherley Anne Williams] works from historical fragments—in this case, the lives of two women from the antebellum American South. One, a slave, black and pregnant, was sentenced to hang after childbirth for leading an uprising in 1829; the other, a pampered daughter of the plantocracy, reportedly provided sanctuary for runaway slaves on her southern farm in 1830. Building fictional characters from these faint historical outlines, Williams asks, "What if?" What if that doomed mother had escaped the hangman? What if these two women had met?
The answers Williams comes up with are stunning. The slave woman Dessa Rose is a phoenix. We meet her while she is stoically waiting for the birth of her child and for her own death; numbed by grief, she is a young woman who has already lost almost everything that's dear to her. She is literally badgered back to life by an onslaught of questions posed by a writer researching a book about insurrections for the enlightenment of the slaveholder. His questions and blind assumptions force her to confront her history, count her losses, give voice to all she...
(The entire section is 600 words.)
SOURCE: A review of Dessa Rose, in Black American Literature Forum, Vol. 20, No. 3, Fall, 1986, pp. 335-40.
[In the following review, Davenport examines how Dessa Rose "fits into, yet subtly alters, several Afro-American literary traditions."]
Recently there have been panels, papers, anthologies, and fights devoted to revising, updating, and enlarging the "canon" of literature. Some professors, most feminist critics, and other enlightened people want to make the literature we read and teach more representative and inclusive of different classes (not just the middle), races (not just white), and at least two sexes. From the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature (MELUS) to individual spokespersons, the concern has been growing stronger since the late sixties. Sherley Anne Williams's novel Dessa Rose provides each of us another opportunity to alter that "canon." We need only read and teach the book.
For those of us who are knowledgeable and concerned about the "canon" and traditions of Afro-American literature, Dessa Rose is doubly significant. The novel fits into, yet subtly alters, several Afro-American literary traditions, playing against and with them as a tight jazz combo does (or used to). For example, the book is a "contemporary" slave narrative, which draws on the history of slave insurrections in America. Dessa is a heroine in her own times,...
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SOURCE: "Slaves of History," in The Women's Review of Books, Vol. IV, No. 1, October, 1986, pp. 1, 3-4.
[An American critic and nonfiction writer, Wallace was a founding member of the National Black Feminist Organization. In the following excerpt, she offers a favorable assessment of Dessa Rose, discussing Williams's use of plot, theme, and characterization.]
Speculation about "what really happened" in the plantation South has proven irresistible to American novelists and their readers. From Uncle Tom's Cabin to Gone With the Wind, from Mandingo to Roots to Beulah Land, the enduring fascination with the South as a hotbed of miscegenation and an ethical embarrassment attests to the perennial American anxiety about slavery as a field of sexual exploitation.
Yet little of this fiction has been written from the perspective of the black woman slave. Her narrow access to the world, which impeded her inclusion in historical record, also impeded her conceptualization in fiction; for how is the author to give the story in which she is the center of intelligence a broad enough perspective to support the omniscient tone so characteristic of the historical novel? Margaret Walker in Jubilee begins the process of substitution by using Afro-American folk culture—spirituals, work songs, folk medicine, Afro-American Christianity—to provide the...
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SOURCE: An interview in Essence, Vol. 17, No. 8, December, 1986, p. 34.
[In the following interview, Williams discusses various topics, including theme and characterization in Dessa Rose.]
Sherley Anne Williams's gentle yet intense manner and quiet, dry sense of humor give only a hint of the compelling power of her writing. Until recently that included two books of poetry, Some One Sweet Angel Chile and The Peacock Poems, a book of literary criticism, Give Birth to Brightness, stories and a play. Her first novel, Dessa Rose, published this year to critical acclaim, is one of those books that opens a window onto our souls, changing the way we see ourselves and our possibilities. It is about power and freedom and how one woman achieves them. Set in the antebellum South, the story was suggested to Williams by two historical incidents—one involving a pregnant Black woman who helps lead an uprising among slaves being herded to market for sale; and the other, a white woman who gives sanctuary to a group of runaway slaves on her backcountry farm. In Williams's inspired, poetic hands, this becomes Dessa Rose's story: an exciting adventure, full of fine, complex characterization, historical authenticity and lessons for today about empowerment, courage, love, friendship and family.
Williams is a professor of literature at the University of California, San Diego. Here...
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SOURCE: "Slave to the Slaves," in The Times Literary Supplement, No. 4398, July 17, 1987, p. 765.
[In the following review, Bucknell provides an unfavorable appraisal of Dessa Rose.]
Dessa Rose is a novel about race and gender relations in the southern United States during the mid-nineteenth century. Slavery was then at its height, and Sherley Anne Williams turns the institution upside down in order to suggest that human relations were determined more by individual personalities than by social roles. Her plot is driven by the principle that a slave determined and clever enough could win freedom by violence or trickery; thus her black characters are not slaves nor her white characters masters. This makes for some provocative reversals, though it is hard to believe.
Dessa Rose is condemned to death for her part in a slave uprising, but her execution is delayed because she is pregnant. She is visited in prison by a white writer, Adam Nehemiah, who plans to use her story in his book on eradicating slave rebellion. Although Dessa is in chains, Nehemiah becomes enslaved by his obsessive desire to understand her. His book is never written because Dessa is rescued by fugitives from the uprising.
The fugitives find haven with Ruth Sutton, a former Charleston belle abandoned by her gambling husband on a backwoods plantation. Here again, conventional power relations are...
(The entire section is 459 words.)
SOURCE: "Negotiating between Tenses: Witnessing Slavery after Freedom—Dessa Rose," in Slavery and the Literary Imagination: Selected Papers from the English Institute, 1987, New Series, No. 13, edited by Deborah E. McDowell and Arnold Rampersad, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987, pp. 144-64.
[In the following essay, McDowell examines issues of identity, discourse, and textuality in Dessa Rose.]
How could she bear witness to what she'd never lived?
—Gayl Jones, Corregidora
History is "cannibalistic," and memory becomes the closed arena of conflict between two contradictory operations: forgetting, an action directed against the past, and the return of what was forgotten.
—Michael de Certeau, Heterologies: Discourses on the Other
Judging from the flood of recent novels about slavery by black Americans, Ralph Ellison is not amiss in remarking that "the negro American consciousness is not a product of a will to historical forgetfulness" [Ellison et al., "The Uses of History in Fiction," Southern Literary Journal I (Spring 1969)]. The subject of slavery has become a kind of literary "free for all." And yet, such has not always been the case. The emergence of what Bernard Bell calls [in his 1987 The...
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SOURCE: "And the Children May Know Their Names," in Callaloo, Vol. 11, No. 2, Spring, 1988, pp. 371-77.
[In the following essay, Schultz examines the relationship betweeen language, naming, knowledge, and identity in Dessa Rose.]
The facts of slavery, historical and experiential, form the substructure for most Afro-American novels, yet only a few—Arna Bontemp's Black Thunder (1936), Margaret Walker's Jubilee (1966), Ernest Gaines's The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971), Ishmael Reed's Flight to Canada (1976), Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987), and Sherley Anne Williams's Dessa Rose (1986)—have focused explicitly on the time of slavery. With the publication of her critical work, Give Birth to Brightness (1972), Sherley Anne Williams dedicated herself to an examination and interpretation of the continuity of traditions and culture in Afro-American literature, arguing that the goal of the contemporary Afro-American writer is "to reveal the beauty and pain, the ugliness and the joy of four hundred years of living in the New World, what this has done to Black people, and, most importantly, what it can and does mean to them." Dessa Rose in its recreation of the complex lives of the ancestors of contemporary black Americans and in its illumination of the struggle of one black woman to know herself and her community and, thereby, to free herself...
(The entire section is 3031 words.)
SOURCE: "Everybody Knows Her Name: The Recovery of the Past in Sherley Anne Williams's Dessa Rose," in Callaloo, Vol. 12, No. 3, Summer, 1989, pp. 544-58.
[In the following essay, Davis discusses the significance of names and naming in Dessa Rose as well as historical aspects of the novel.]
Not having been around people very much who are dying, I did not know until then how it felt to see somebody walking down the hall tonight, then not see them in the morning because they are gone. Gone with a big letter, gone with a capital G. I mean solid and really not-here-no-more—gone. Silent, with nobody to scream. Nobody like Zarita around to make a big noise, nor Joyce to cry sweet and polite. Nobody to yell, 'He's gone.' His name I can't recall. But maybe why I remember that man in Baltimore so well is because there was not a human to cry, 'Gone! He's gone!'
—Langston Hughes, "Empty Room"
"His name I can't recall." Simple's painful recollection of the death of an unnamed roomer in one of Langston Hughes's Simple tales is a poignant emblem of humanity's dread of annihilation, not mere physical extinction but the obliteration of one's prior existence and significance from human memory. Simple's urge to excavate the life of this anonymous roomer from the tomb of oblivion...
(The entire section is 7554 words.)
SOURCE: "The Estrangement Effect in Sherley Anne Williams' Dessa Rose," in Genders, No. 15, Winter, 1992, pp. 21-36.
[In the following essay, Sánchez provides a textual analysis of Dessa Rose, examining how Williams uses voice, narration, and parody as means of creating a sense of estrangement in the novel.]
In Dessa Rose, Sherley Anne Williams offers us a complex and nuanced exemplum of a slave narrative written by a woman. This is an especially noteworthy achievement in light of the fact that extant and published slave narratives in the historical record were written by black men. Black women wrote less than 12 percent of published slave narratives. By daring to call forth from the historical past the "voice" of "[d]e nigger woman … de mule uh de world," as Zora Neale Hurston so aptly put it almost half a century ago [in Their Eyes Were Watching God (1971)], Williams complicates a historical record that has almost entirely excluded or misrepresented the female slave voice. She invites us to imagine how such a woman might have assessed her world and notably asserted her subjectivity in writing. Like Toni Morrison's Beloved and Margaret Walker's Jubilee, Dessa Rose fits firmly into the tradition of contemporary fictional rewritings of slave narratives by African-American women.
In a contemporary setting, Williams also dares to inject...
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SOURCE: A review of Working Cotton, in Booklist, Vol. 89, No. 1, September 1, 1992, p. 55.
[Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Rochman is an American critic, editor, and nonfiction writer. In the following review, she favorably assesses Working Cotton.]
"The rows of cotton stretch as far as I can see." The voice is that of Shelan, a migrant child laborer in the cotton fields of central California, and the words hold both physical reality and bitter metaphor. [In Sherley Anne Williams' Working Cotton, which was illustrated by Carole Byard, she] tells of a long day of work with her family—from the cold smoky dawn to night. Byard's double-page acrylic paintings set the soft whiteness of the cotton crop against landscapes and portraits of glowing color, and the sense of beauty and space underlines the child's confinement. The text, based on Williams' Peacock Poems (a National Book Award nominee), is spare, colloquial, and immediate, a way of life concentrated in a single day. The family is warm, but friendship is fleeting when "you hardly ever see the same kids twice, 'specially after we moves to a new field." There's no self-pity or squalor, and no false nobility either, but rather a sense of bone-weariness and lost potential and no end in sight: "It's a long time to night." Williams says in a note that she drew on her childhood experience in the cotton fields of Fresno: her book...
(The entire section is 260 words.)
SOURCE: A review of Working Cotton, in School Library Journal, Vol. 38, No. 11, November, 1992, p. 81.
[In the following review, Miller-Lachmann offers praise for Working Cotton.]
[The protagonist of Sherley Anne Williams's Working Cotton,] Shelan is the third of four daughters in a family of African-American migrant workers. With a spare grace, she narrates one day in their lives as they work in the fields picking cotton. Although she is too young to do much, the girl helps pile cotton for her mother, who carries baby Leanne as she works. Sometimes, she befriends other children, "But you hardly ever see the same kids twice, 'specially after we moves to a new field." As the day wears on, the heat builds and boredom and fatigue grow. Sweat pours off the children's faces, and Shelan observes, "It's a long time to night." Finally, the sun sets, the bus comes, and the tired laborers take their bundles and leave. Williams's narrative is based on a set of poems about her childhood experiences. Told in modified black English, the text presents a unique voice and sense of immediacy, but also requires sensitivity on the part of readers. [Illustrator Carole] Byard's sweeping double-page spreads show the closeness of the family and their struggle to survive. These powerful acrylic paintings, coupled with the elegant text, allow readers to consider each scene as a complex entity in itself. The rhythm...
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Henderson, Mae G. "(W)riting The Work and Working the Rites." Black American Literature Forum 23, No. 4 (Winter 1989): 631-60.
Discusses Williams's story "Meditations on History," noting its focus on discourse and relationship to William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner. "Meditations of History" was later expanded into Dessa Rose.
Inscoe, John C. "Slave Rebellion in the First Person: The Literary Confessions of Nat Turner and Dessa Rose." The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 97, No. 4 (October 1989): 419-36.
Compares and contrasts Dessa Rose with The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron.
Rowe, Cyprian Lamar. Review of Give Birth to Brightness, by Sherley Anne Williams. Black World XXII, No. 8 (June 1973): 89-92.
Positively assesses Williams's analysis of African-American literature.
(The entire section is 161 words.)