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Chapter 3 connects the modes of performance in everyday life that Fresh Start residents employ to most effectively maneuver and assert their cultural and personal sensibilities within hostile contexts. As the word play in the title suggests, Black girls’ self-presentations are frequently at least as much collective expressions that work to entertain and uplift the girls as they are declarations of self-definition meant to respond to mandated social scripts for Black girlhood. A week-long camping trip in Ohio and the oral history surrounding a protest staged by the residents in the early days of the shelter are the main narratives in this chapter. The author demonstrates that how these events are imagined, retold, and performed by the shelter residents reflect how Black girls respond to their illegibility by creatively narrating themselves and, thus, locating play in and through protest.

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