DR.  S.  Y.  EVANS

Database of Black Women's Autobiography

Write Your Life!

Want professional assistance to write your life story? Contact Dr. Rachel Panton 


Photo: Dr. Evans lectures on Anna Julia Cooper in the Amphithéâtre Richelieu, where Dr. Cooper defended her dissertation in 1925. Sorbonne, University of Paris, France, 2010.

Suggestions for Library?

Email suggestions for additional book references to contact[at]professorevans.net

Photo: Memoir writing with Prof. Evans' African Americans in Paris course. France, 2011.


Mentors can use  local, national, and global narratives to discuss life, school, work, and cultural exchange. Youth and young adults can learn from wisdom (and mistakes) of writers who have come before. Africana women are not a monolith. Hundreds of memoirs offer a vast thesaurus for young self-definition.

Life Stories are Mirrors

AfricanaMemoirs.net enhances narrative research: reading and writing life stories for empowerment.  Every woman has an epic story and through humanistic life history research, we narrate our backgrounds, battles, and lessons. In the tradition of Sesheta, our stories are as numerous as the stars in the sky.


The world is awash in bite-sized information. Quality research makes the difference between regurgitation and informed analysis.  Broadened searches heighten abilities to locate, evaluate, use, and create a more complete and critical story. Beyond textual literacy, diverse resources improve information and media literacy. Life narratives are perfect guides for learning in classes, libraries, organizations, and book clubs.


Autobiographies and memoirs are vital sources of intellectual history. Life stories chronicle a tone of the times in which they are published and bookmark major events for future analysis. Memoirs are a willful act of remembrance and research sets dynamic life stories in a more vivid past. We make history when we write.


Black women are human beings. While mainstream information often flattens race and gender into a one-dimensional sketch, the 500 voices in The Sesheta Network reveal a kaleidoscope of experience, meaning, and opportunity. Book lovers can further enjoy these published adventures by digging into documents. Context gained by sources helps expand insights, challenge assumptions, and lend depth to a story.  As an educator's curricular aid, Sesheta.net introduces students to a broad data set of Black women's stories from which they can form original analysis and move beyond static interpretations of women in the African diaspora. As a booklover's playground, this database offers convenient source-rich reading of personal lives.Reading autobiography illuminates human conditions and awakens empathy to help us overcome dehumanization. Writing memoir and exchanging knowledge completes the circle and bridges humanity's past with our future.