Pearl Cleage papers
> Writings by Pearl Cleage

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Series 2
Writings by Pearl Cleage, 1966-2011
Boxes 46-101 and 155

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of published and unpublished writings by Pearl Cleage from 1966-2011. The writings include novels, scripts, articles, collected essays, interviews, speeches, poems, and other writings. The major themes reflected in Cleage's writings are social change, African American womanhood, domestic violence, community renewal and uplift, revolution, love, courage, strength, and empowerment. The extensive annotated manuscript drafts of all Cleage's major works, such as What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day, I Wish I Had A Red Dress, and Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do, document her creative and editorial process from the period of conception through the final corrected pre-publication page proofs.

Cleage's fiction (Subseries 2.1) includes manuscript and typescript drafts of each of her novels and scripts which document African American experiences through the lens of Black women. Of particular interest are Cleage's manuscript notes containing detailed profiles of characters including Regina Burns and Precious Hargrove. The series also contains manuscript and typescript drafts of play scripts, scripts of performance pieces, screenplays, and plays formatted for television. Her dramas often focus on the experiences of African American women during historical events such as the Exodus of 1879, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights Movement.

Cleage's non-fiction works (Subseries 2.2) contain manuscript and typescript drafts of her articles, collected essays, interviews, speeches, scripts for public affairs television programs, and other writings. Her non-fiction works emphasize the importance of economic, social, and political equality; women liberation; and literary activism.

Poems (Subseries 2.3) consist of typescript and manuscript poetry written by Cleage on a variety of topics including birthdays, celebration, family, and love.

Arrangement Note

Organized into three subseries: (2.1) Fiction, (2.2) Non-fiction, and (2.3) Poems.

Restrictions on Access

Due to privacy concerns, some material has been redacted.

Description of Subseries