Black Positive People : ‘They’ve been invisible’: Seattle professor studies role of black grandmothers in society


Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2005
StreetNationEarth: Seattle
The Meek !Shall! Inherit the Earth.
Madea? Big Momma? Please.

Those movie characters may have made comical, cultural icons of black grandmothers, but they don’t do them justice. They’re not even played by actual women.

“If that’s what you’re getting, you’re missing what a lot of these women bring to bear on their families and communities,” said LaShawnDa Pittman, an assistant professor of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington.

“We shouldn’t be talking about the black experience without talking about black grandmothers.”

Pittman did her doctoral dissertation on black grandmothers: Their health. Their income issues. Their place in society as a stabilizing, nurturing safety net for families that, without them, might very well fall apart.

“Friends started telling me their stories,” she said, “and I became this grandmother repository. And I thought, ‘This is a thing.’ ”

Pittman has turned the stories into a website called

The site is a place where people can post testimonials about their grandmothers, and archive the experiences of the women “who have played such an important, and unsung role in American society,” Pittman said.
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