"Phenomenal Women," Collaborative Literacies, and Community Texts in Alternative "Sista" Spaces

Beverly J Moss


The work highlighted in this essay focuses on an ethnographic study of a group of African American women, members of Phenomenal Women, Incorporated, who come together not necessarily to read and write, but who, in their “sista space”—their club—often read and write when they come together.  In this space, they promote self-help through reading and writing and use their literacy skills to promote civic action and engagement and cultural enrichment.  This essay examines the literacy practices in which these women engage in two types of literacy event during their annual Black History Month celebrations. 

Author Bio
Beverly J. Moss is an associate professor of English at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.  Her interests focus on literacy in African American community spaces and in composition theory and pedagogy.  Her publications include A Community Text Arises: A Literate Text and A Literacy Tradition in African American Churches, Literacies Across Communities (edited collection), and Writing Groups Inside and Outside the Classroom (co-edited with Nels Highberg and Melissa Nicolas).


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Publication of the Community Literacy Journal is made possible through the generous support of the English Department and the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University. The CLJ is a journal of the Conference on Community Writing.