chapter  3
16 Pages

Of Diggin’ and Fakin’: Historiopoiesis in Suzan-Lori Parks and Contemporary African American Culture

In a 1994 interview, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks declared, “I take issues with history because it doesn’t serve me-it doesn’t serve me because there isn’t enough of it,” referring to what she considers to be a prevalent lack of black historiography. She proposes to remedy the situation by “mak[ing] up” some history.1 This radical attitude towards history bespeaks not only the playwright’s frustration with a Western tradition that in the spirit of Hegel has tended to erase or subsume black history under the white sign, but, above all, her determination to challenge such hegemonic historiography by opposing it with her own.2