Resisting Through 2020: Political Strategies of Black Women Receiving Assistance in the U.S. during Floyd, Trump, and COVID-19

Ashley Gaddy

Advisor: Paul Smith, PhD, Cultural Studies Program

Committee Members: Wendi Manuel-Scott, Iccha Basnyat

Enterprise Hall, #400
April 21, 2023, 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM


The year 2020 in the United States is one that TIME magazine mentioned “will go down in history books”.  Edits and revisions have already occurred in scholarly publications to include the historic events that shaped the lives of so many. On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced coronavirus (COVID-19), May 30, 2020, the conversation about systemic racism extended beyond COVID-19 as the world watched the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, all while Donald Trump served as president. This dissertation spotlights Black women receiving government assistance in the U.S. and looks at the ways these three factors impacted how women thought about their bodies, reproduction, and motherhood while also addressing the chronic stressors that occurred in their everyday lives. However, instead of focusing the research question solely on negative impacts, this dissertation centers the strategies used by these women to persist through the systemic oppressions these factors had on their bodies and tracts how these strategies engage with politics through persistence, resistance, and dissent.