What historical references are used in Everyday Use?I'm writing a research paper on how alice walker used historical references in Everyday Use. Such as the civil rights movement.

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The mention of Johnny Carson on late-night TV places the story concurrent to the time is was written in the early 1970s.

The greeting "Asalamalakim" and the names "Wangero" and "Hakim-A-Barber" reveal the growing fads among young Black college students in the 1970s to cast off their slave names and take on more authentic Afro-Muslim ones.  This was made fashionable largely by Malcolm X, who changed his name three times: Malcolm Little to Malcolm X to Malik El Shabaaz.  Others included Cassius Clay to Muhammed Ali and Lew Alcindor to Karim Abdul-Jabar.

Also, the naming of females after each other--Big Dee and Grandma Dee--is by contrast a way of keeping not only the slave surname but also the same Christian name.  Names are a form of living history.

The quilt too is a living history, but--unlike the names--not a written one.  It is a symbolic form of storytelling from the Civil War to the present--a 100 year-old "document":

They had been pieced by Grandma Dee and then Big Dee and me had hung them on the quilt frames on the front porch and quilted them. One was in the Lone Stat pattern. The other was Walk Around the Mountain. In both of them were scraps of dresses Grandma Dee had wotn fifty and more years ago. Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jattell's Paisley shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece, about the size of a penny matchbox, that was from Great Grandpa Ezra's uniform that he wore in the Civil War.