ERIC Number: ED476039
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Jun
Evolution of Activists: Prison Women's Writings as Change Agent for Their Communities.
Baird, Irene C.
The role of incarcerated women's writings as change agents for their communities was explored in a project during which 15 Anglo-American, African-American, and Latina women between the ages of 19 and 40 years voluntarily participates in three 10-week poetry reading and discussion sessions. The program was designed as a Freirian/humanities adult education program and was based on a model for a pilot study with homeless women as a nonthreatening mechanism for addressing personal crises. Before the first session, the women were apprised of the process and requested that Maya Angelou, Patrice Gaines, and Nikki Giovanni serve as "mentors" or role models for their writing. The majority of the women were receptive to the program model of reading, reflecting on, and discussing poetry as a tool for examining their personal identity and values and building a community. The program also had a serendipitous outcome the emergence of a different, activist voice as several of the "repeaters" developed an activist perspective for effecting change within their community, thus confirming theoretical constructs regarding the developing of a confident, meaningful "voice" for social engagement. In interviews, especially, the women exercised extraordinary agency, requesting that their writing be disseminated and maintaining that the alternative, open resistance to the prison system would be personally destructive. (Contains 16 references.) (MN)
Descriptors: Activism, Adult Education, Adult Learning, Blacks, Change Agents, Community Development, Creative Writing, Discussion Groups, Empowerment, Females, Hispanic Americans, Poetry, Popular Education, Prisoners, Role Models, Self Concept, Self Expression, Whites, Womens Education, Writing (Composition)
For full text: http://www.edst.educ.ubc.ca/aerc/2001/2001baird.htm.
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A