CWS: Harriet's Daughter
Author: Marlene Nourbese Philip
Published: October 1988
Format: Paperback 150 pages
Level: Age 11 and older
Winner of the 1988 Casa De Las Americas Prize
Harriet's Daughter is a CXC prescribed text for English B. In this charming, humorous and perceptive tale of adolescence, Marlene Nourbese Philip explores the friendship of two young back girls and throws into sharp relief the wider issues of culture and identity so relevant to teenagers of all races and colours.
"Harriet Tubman was brave and strong, and she was black like me. I think it was the first time I thought of wanting to be called Harriet - I wanted to be Harriet." Margaret is determined to be someone; to be cool, with style and class and to have a blacker skin. More than anything else she wants to help her best friend, Zulma, escape from Canada and fly back to Tobago to live with her grandmother. She compiles a list: 'Things I want changed in my life' and sets about achieving her objectives. But at fourteen, coming to terms with growing-up, relationships and responsibilities is not quite straightforward, and the parental threat of 'Good West Indian Discipline' is never far removed.