This study explores how three Black women – Angela Davis, Nina Simone, and Audre Lorde – influenced the idea of self-definition during the Black Power Era. This thesis describes how each of these women stressed their own identities to others. Angela Davis emphasizes this through her experiences in prison and with violence, Nina Simone through her music, and Audre Lorde through her literature, particularly poetry. Both primary and secondary sources such as song lyrics, essays, and interviews were used to further examine Throughout history, Black women have had little say over how they view themselves because of how they have been defined by white society. Often subjected to numerous stereotypes, this group has been faced with difficulties of defining themselves in a language that is central to their own oppression. The ideas created by these Black women were also displayed through their contributions to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. The thesis concludes with the idea that because of how Davis, Simone, and Lorde contributed a great deal to these movements, Black women in today’s society have followed their lead, contributing to movements, such as #BlackLivesMatter.


King, Shannon




Inequality and Stratification | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | United States History | Women's History

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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