Vol. 19, no. 1-2 (2023): Ericka Shawndricka Dunbar

Biblical and Africana Maternal Grief: Womanish Resistance to Child Fatalities

Ericka Shawndricka Dunbar, Baylor University


In “Biblical and Africana Maternal Grief: Womanish Resistance to Child Fatalities,” Dunbar engages in a dialogical reading of the biblical stories of Hagar and Rizpah, alongside stories of contemporary Africana mothers, to analyze grief language and actions in biblical and contemporary settings. She explores how grieving mothers identify systemic injustices that impact vulnerable children and outline how those mothers advocate for the preservation and well-being of their children in life and (re)guard their deceased children’s bodies and memories until the children are recognized and regarded posthumously. She also describes collaborations between human mothers and Mother Earth as depicted in the biblical texts and reflects on Mother Earth’s responses to endangerment and loss to children, including grief. Dunbar argues that attention to maternal grief might enable readers to recognize instances of disenfranchised grief—grief not acknowledged as legitimate by society—thus, often minimized or ignored.


Africana Biblical Interpretation, Hagar, Rizpah, Mothers of the Movement

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