Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Studies


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Chuang, Rueyling

Second Advisor

Larsen, Robin

Third Advisor

Carter, Nathan


The purpose of this thesis is to examine to what extent representations of double jeopardy and the stereotypical images of African American females: Mammy, Matriarch, Sapphire, and Strong Black Woman emerge in the blues lyrics of Alberta Hunter, Gertrude "Ma" Rainy, Memphis Minnie, and Victoria Spivey, using the theoretical framework of Black feminist rhetorical critique. The findings in this research entail several meanings regarding the lives of African American women during the 1920s and 1930s. Representations of racism, sexism, and classism also appear in the theme of relationships with various subthemes. The focus of this study is to explore the evolution of Black music and examine the role women have played in both the development and advancement of the blues genre. Additionally, the study will explore various concepts of cultural identity development in order to establish the process of how identity is constructed and negotiated in African Americans specifically African American women.