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Family & Relationships Death, Grief, Bereavement

Lawrencia's Last Parang

A Memoir of Loss and Belonging as a Black Woman in Canada

by (author) Anita Jack-Davies

Inanna Publications
Initial publish date
Jun 2024
Death, Grief, Bereavement, Caribbean & Latin American Studies, Discrimination & Race Relations
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2024
    List Price

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Lawrencia’s Last Parang: A Memoir of Loss and Belonging as a Black Woman in Canada is a snapshot of the author’s life after the passing of her grandmother Lawrencia, the woman who raised her. Written in the style of a patchwork quilt that takes the reader back and forth between past and present, she examines her grief from the perspective of a Canadian-born Black woman of Caribbean descent, and she begins to question her identity and what it means to be a Black Canadian in new ways. This means exploring her childhood in Trinidad and her adult life in Kingston, Ontario, a predominantly white city; her experience of raising a mixed-raced child; and the meaning of her interracial marriage.

Given love and protection by the grandmother who raised her, she belongs to Trinidad, but she was born in Canada. Thus, she occupies what she describes as a third space, needing both Trinidad and Canada, loving both, and belonging fully to neither. In Canada, she struggles with issues of racism almost on a daily basis—everything from “where are you from?” to nurses who come to see the Black woman who gave birth to a white baby, to resentful students at the university where she teaches. Within the academy, she is again in a kind of third space as a “sometimes professor,” where archetypes of the Black body (mammy, jezebel, matriarch, and welfare mother) clash with the position of authority she holds in the classroom.

Simultaneously a memoir, a eulogy, and an academic analysis, the book offers an insightful exploration of race in Canada, one that complicates these issues through the lens of identity and loss, but also through a prism of privilege.

About the author

Anita Jack-Davies was born in Toronto, Ontario, and spent her formative years on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, but returned to Canada at eleven years old. In 1998, she became a teacher and spent five years as an educator with the Toronto District School Board before returning to graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in Education. She is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Urban Planning at Queen's University and is Director, Strategic Partnerships & Development at Ryerson University. She has taught courses in the areas of black feminisms, feminist pedagogies and race and racism. She lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario.

Anita Jack-Davies' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Lawrencia’s Last Parang is a melodic portrait that brings the reader front and centre with the realities of being a Black woman in Canada, facing racism, microaggressions, and “other” isms.Masterfully crafted, heartwarming, and honest, Lawrencia’s Last Parang will resonate with anyone who’s experienced being treated as the other.A loving tribute by a grieving daughter, wrapped in the loving embrace of the memory of those who raised her." -Lisa Braxton, author of The Talking Drum

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