Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Andre Johnson

Committee Member

Antonio de Velasco

Committee Member

Shelby Crosby

Committee Member

Christina Moss


The Blues woman, who is excommunicated from the Black church, is still deserving of affirmation, guidance, and inspiration. Her refusal to deny her authenticity invokes a marginalization that is rarely talked about within the Black community. This marginalization is an erasure/exclusion of this woman for the sake of maintaining this narrative. Rather than forcing herself on the followers of the narrative, she remains on the outskirts of the community. Attendance at church is not a requirement to have access to the biblical canon of the church. However, she is unlikely to embrace the sacred text of the institution that has cast her off. And on the slight chance that she does decide to open the canon, there is little found on the pages to serve her. With this in mind, the question becomes, what can be used to fill the gap left by the biblical canon for the Blues woman? My answer is Womanist Vernacular Discourse. I begin this work by unpacking the biblical gap, the Blues woman, and Womanist Vernacular Discourse. After identifying and exploring the vacancy, I began to find literature from what has been deemed secular in the Black community that has the potential to effectively fill the gap. Understanding the nature of the Blues woman and her hesitation to enter religious edifices, it immediately became apparent that this inspiration would have to come from sources not affiliated with the church and the tendency to lean on the bible would not be available. I looked to the places Blues women gather and how Womanist Vernacular Discourse was being exercised in those spaces. Those spaces included open mic nights, movie theaters, and book clubs. As I analyzed the popular literature utilized in these spaces, it was clear that the discourse in all of these texts expose Black women’s encounters with each other and the divine. Then, I wondered if any other ministers were aiming to inspire these women and if their sermons contained a version of Womanist Vernacular Discourse that moved beyond traditional homiletics and extended grace to this woman. Because of this, I looked to how Womanist Vernacular Discourse is used in the poetic, dramatic, autobiographical, and sermonic to fill the gap left by the biblical canon.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access