A Mother's Love: Hannah & Jennie's Autonomy

This section speaks to the relationship Hannah had with her mother, and how it was unethically covered by journalists. The author notes that what informed his descriptions of Hannah and Jennie's gender expressions are rumors spread by folks in the neighborhood who disprove of them. Hannah's gender expression and gender identity are seen as the cause of Jennie's desire to have a daughter, her brainwashing her child,  and being a masculine woman (Matthews 1933). In critiquing Jennie and Hannah, Matthews attempts to punish them by deducing their genders as something pathological. He does a disservice by rendering Jennie and Hannah's beings as spectacles only deserving of negative attention. Hannah responds to a question about her age by saying "Well, you can say I am less than 75" (Matthews 1933). The opportunity to see Hannah, Jennie, and their relationship is lost in a transphobic attempt to paint Hannah as an untrustworthy witness and fraudulent person.   


Hannah Nokes and Her Mother

Portion of a newspaper article about the Crawford case where Hannah's relationship with her mother and both their gender expressions are written about as unnatural . 

It is imperative to note that only one article covering this was found, and that only happened with help from Dr. Manuel-Scott and Dr. Oberle. Hannah & Jennie's lack of presence in the historical narrative highlight the lack of care Black people receive within the archive. The dehumanizing language and critical tone apparent Mattthew's writing showcase the othering experienced by those whose gender expression subverted gender norms. This is also seen in how Hannah’s descriptions as a witness in Crawford v. Commonwealth uses her gender as something that should be punished.   

By Leeana Norman

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