Daughters of the Dust
Ra Malika Imhotep is a Black feminist writer and performance artist and Doctoral candidate in African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley.
Alva Rogers, Cora Lee Day, Barbara O. Jones, Cheryl Lynn Bruce,
“There exists a fear of Black people using our culture to make statements in codes. It’s the modern variation on the fear that led slaveholders to take our drums away” (Julie Dash). On a summer day in 1902, the Peazant family prepares to leave their island home off the Georgia coast and a way of life to which there is no return. With authenticity in every detail, including the Gullah language, Julie Dash told this story in the circular manner of a West African griot or storyteller—“the way an old relative would retell it, not linear but always coming back around.” A film experienced in sequences, from the perspectives of several generations of women, including an unborn daughter, Daughters of the Dust creates a fabric of universal themes: the conflicts between personal and collective history, and between spiritual and industrial life; and the strength of bonds between sisters, daughters, and mothers. In Daughters of the Dust, Dash created her own cinematic codes, a challenge that faces all women filmmakers.