Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Flaherty

Second Advisor

Dr. Stefanie Sevcik

Third Advisor

Dr. Lauren Pilcher


African American voices have been the main sources of influence on society and culture. For this reason, it is important that African Americans speak up and reclaim their voices. Not only are their voices important, but the stories that lie behind the voices are what need to be amplified. With the application of postcolonial theory, this thesis takes modern stories located in North America depicting racist behavior towards African Americans from the year 1970 to present-day New York City in order to fully amplify the process of social struggle. As these narratives are passed down through generations serving as a platform for understanding their identity, the realization of reclamation is present within the African American community. Reclamation is the reclaiming of one’s identity and true state of being. This thesis argues that African Americans reject the colonization mindset and reclaim their identity of voice and culture through verbal and nonverbal communication. With the assistance of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk and Regina Taylor’s Crowns, we are given permission to view through the lens of reclamation and identity in order to fully understand what it means for African Americans to reclaim identity and culture.