In the last year, Americans have reconsidered the concept of citizenship in the public forum in response to the political unrest regarding racial oppression burning through our nation. In particular, the discourse has probed the definition of citizen, as well as, the concept of who is considered a citizen in our nation and, as a consequence, who is conferred with full benefits of being a citizen. Using this discourse and the body of poetic activism authored by Mari Evans, I will argue citizenship is a praxis involving clarity and action.
Althea Tait, PhD, assistant professor of English at The College at Brockport, teaches a variety of courses dealing with African-American literature and culture. Her most recent publication, "Innocence and the Fury: Reading the Pink in Rita Dove's Mother Love," focuses on the ways African American female poets express the violent struggles African American mothers face in the American context, past and present. Dr. Tait is currently working on a recovery project for the black female poet Mari Evans, which considers the weight and importance of Evan's body of works and activism spanning 60 years.