VFOA Panama

Black Women Expatriates

This segment of VFOA works to compile scholarly and popular views of Black women’s mobility through interviews with, and educational workshops on, African-American and Caribbean women expatriates, migrants, and tourists. Countering the ubiquity of the now iconic image of Stella from How Stella Got Her Groove Back and the absence of attention to Black women in Immigration Studies scholarship and from discourses on cosmopolitanism, this section aims to generate new primary sources that will expand and enrich the range of stories told about Black women within and beyond academia.

The initial interviews for this segment were done with African American and Caribbean expatriate women in Panama. We have built on that work by gathering narratives from and on women in the U.S., Canada, among other sites, and by conducting archival research on the migrations and travels of Black Women at key moments in the twentieth century-the interwar period, the era of decolonization, and the turn of the twenty-first century. Support for this segment has come, in part, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and the Department of English.