University of Edinburgh
This article examines Margaret Walker’s neo-slave narrative novel, Jubilee (1966), identifying it as an important prerequisite for subsequent neo-slave narratives. The article aims to offer a new reading of the novel by situating it within a black feminist ideological framework and drawing on critical race and whiteness studies, postcolonial and trauma theory.
Taking into account the novel’s social and political context, the article suggests that the ancestral figures or elderly women in the slave community function as a means of resistance and access to personal and collective history, and also contribute to the construction of the protagonist’s subjectivity against slavery’s dehumanisation. Challenging reductive and ahistorical critical readings, the article concludes by suggesting that Walker’s novel fulfils a politically engaged function by inscribing the black female subject into discussions on the legacy of slavery and drawing attention to the particularity of black women’s experiences.