This book explores revisions of black male vulnerability in contemporary literature, examining how an everyday life determined by racialized social control can be transformed. It shows how transformative change takes place in black male characters’ efforts to work through the criminality-as-vulnerability script in order to make a social impact.
african american novels in the black lives matter era
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Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era is an edited collection of critical essays and poetry that investigates contemporary elegy within the black diaspora. Scores of contemporary writers have turned to elegiac poetry and prose in order to militate against the white supremacist logic that has led to recent deaths of unarmed black men, women, and children. This volume combines scholarly and creative understandings of the elegy in order to discern how mourning feeds our political awareness in this dystopian time as writers attempt to see, hear, and say something in relation to the bodies of the dead as well as to living readers. Moreover, this book provides a model for how to productively interweave theoretical and deeply personal accounts to encourage discussions about art and activism that transgress disciplinary boundaries, as well as lines of race, gender, class, and nation.
Post-Blackness. Post-Soul. Post-Black Art. New Blackness. How has the meaning of blackness changed in the twenty-first century? Cameron Leader-Picone suggests that this proliferation of terms, along with the renewed focus on questioning the relationship between individual black artists and the larger black community, indicates the arrival of novel forms of black identity and black art. Leader-Picone defines these terms as significant facets of a larger post era, linking them with the social and political context of Barack Obama’s presidency. Analyzing claims of progress associated with Obama’s election and post-era thinking, he examines the contours of black aesthetics in the new century. To do so, he sifts through post-era African American fiction, considering both celebrations and rejections of an early twenty-first-century rhetoric of progress. In addition, he maps the subsequent implications of these concepts for rearticulating racial identities. Through the works of Colson Whitehead, Alice Randall, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Paul Beatty, Kiese Laymon, and Jesmyn Ward, Leader-Picone tracks how recent fiction manifests the tension between the embrace of post–civil rights era gains and the recognition of persistent structural racism. Ultimately far less triumphal than the prefix post would imply, these authors address the Black Arts Movement and revise double consciousness and other key themes from the African American literary tradition. They interrogate their relevance in an era encompassing not only the election of the nation’s first black president, but also the government’s failed response to Hurricane Katrina, the expansion of class divisions within the black community, mass incarceration, and ongoing police violence.
Violence from Slavery to #BlackLivesMatter brings together perspectives on violence and its representation in African American history from slavery to the present moment. Contributors explore how violence, signifying both an instrument of the white majority’s power and a modality of black resistance, has been understood and articulated in primary materials that range from slave narrative through "lynching plays" and Richard Wright’s fiction to contemporary activist poetry, and from photography of African American suffering through Blaxploitation cinema and Spike Lee’s films to rap lyrics and performances. Diverse both in their period coverage and their choice of medium for discussion, the 11 essays are unified by a shared concern to unpack violence’s multiple meanings for black America. Underlying the collection, too, is not only the desire to memorialize past moments of black American suffering and resistance, but, in politically timely fashion, to explore their connections to our current conjuncture.
A new vocabulary for African American Studies As the longest-standing interdisciplinary field, African American Studies has laid the foundation for critically analyzing issues of race, ethnicity, and culture within the academy and beyond. This volume assembles the keywords of this field for the first time, exploring not only the history of those categories but their continued relevance in the contemporary moment. Taking up a vast array of issues such as slavery, colonialism, prison expansion, sexuality, gender, feminism, war, and popular culture, Keywords for African American Studies showcases the startling breadth that characterizes the field. Featuring an august group of contributors across the social sciences and the humanities, the keywords assembled within the pages of this volume exemplify the depth and range of scholarly inquiry into Black life in the United States. Connecting lineages of Black knowledge production to contemporary considerations of race, gender, class, and sexuality, Keywords for African American Studies provides a model for how the scholarship of the field can meet the challenges of our social world.
In an age of Black Lives Matter, James Baldwin's essays on life in Harlem, the protest novel, movies, and African Americans abroad are as powerful today as when they were first written. With documentaries like I Am Not Your Negro bringing renewed interest to Baldwin's life and work, Notes of a Native Son serves as a valuable introduction. Written during the 1940s and early 1950s, when Baldwin was only in his twenties, the essays collected in Notes of a Native Son capture a view of black life and black thought at the dawn of the civil rights movement and as the movement slowly gained strength through the words of one of the most captivating essayists and foremost intellectuals of that era. Writing as an artist, activist, and social critic, Baldwin probes the complex condition of being black in America. With a keen eye, he examines everything from the significance of the protest novel to the motives and circumstances of the many black expatriates of the time, from his home in “The Harlem Ghetto” to a sobering “Journey to Atlanta.” Notes of a Native Son inaugurated Baldwin as one of the leading interpreters of the dramatic social changes erupting in the United States in the twentieth century, and many of his observations have proven almost prophetic. His criticism on topics such as the paternalism of white progressives or on his own friend Richard Wright’s work is pointed and unabashed. He was also one of the few writing on race at the time who addressed the issue with a powerful mixture of outrage at the gross physical and political violence against black citizens and measured understanding of their oppressors, which helped awaken a white audience to the injustices under their noses. Naturally, this combination of brazen criticism and unconventional empathy for white readers won Baldwin as much condemnation as praise. Notes is the book that established Baldwin’s voice as a social critic, and it remains one of his most admired works. The essays collected here create a cohesive sketch of black America and reveal an intimate portrait of Baldwin’s own search for identity as an artist, as a black man, and as an American.
A reference offering entries on 168 women writers of African-American descent writing in all forms includes autobiography, poetry, children's literature, and criticism.
In 1957 Ghana became one of the first sub-Saharan African nations to gain independence from colonial rule. Over the next decade, hundreds of African Americans--including Martin Luther King Jr., George Padmore, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Richard Wright, Pauli Murray, and Muhammad Ali--visited or settled in Ghana. Kevin K. Gaines explains what attracted these Americans to Ghana and how their new community was shaped by the convergence of the Cold War, the rise of the U.S. civil rights movement, and the decolonization of Africa. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's president, posed a direct challenge to U.S. hegemony by promoting a vision of African liberation, continental unity, and West Indian federation. Although the number of African American expatriates in Ghana was small, in espousing a transnational American citizenship defined by solidarities with African peoples, these activists along with their allies in the United States waged a fundamental, if largely forgotten, struggle over the meaning and content of the cornerstone of American citizenship--the right to vote--conferred on African Americans by civil rights reform legislation.
This book is a multifaceted approach to understanding the central developments in African American history since 1939. It combines a historical overview of key personalities and movements with essays by leading scholars on specific facets of the African American experience, a chronology of events, and a guide to further study. Marian Anderson's famous 1939 concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial was a watershed moment in the struggle for racial justice. Beginning with this event, the editors chart the historical efforts of African Americans to address racism and inequality. They explore the rise of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and the national and international contexts that shaped their ideologies and methods; consider how changes in immigration patterns have complicated the conventional "black/white" dichotomy in U.S. society; discuss the often uneasy coexistence between a growing African American middle class and a persistent and sizable underclass; and address the complexity of the contemporary African American experience. Contributors consider specific issues in African American life, including the effects of the postindustrial economy and the influence of music, military service, sports, literature, culture, business, and the politics of self-designation, e.g.,"Colored" vs. "Negro," "Black" vs. "African American". While emphasizing political and social developments, this volume also illuminates important economic, military, and cultural themes. An invaluable resource, The Columbia Guide to African American History Since 1939 provides a thorough understanding of a crucial historical period.
Available in book form for the first time, the FBI's secret dossier on the legendary and controversial writer. Decades before Black Lives Matter returned James Baldwin to prominence, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI considered the Harlem-born author the most powerful broker between black art and black power. Baldwin’s 1,884-page FBI file, covering the period from 1958 to 1974, was the largest compiled on any African American artist of the Civil Rights era. This collection of once-secret documents, never before published in book form, captures the FBI’s anxious tracking of Baldwin’s writings, phone conversations, and sexual habits?and Baldwin’s defiant efforts to spy back at Hoover and his G-men. James Baldwin: The FBI File reproduces over one hundred original FBI records, selected by the noted literary historian whose award-winning book, F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature, brought renewed attention to bureau surveillance. William J. Maxwell also provides an introduction exploring Baldwin's enduring relevance in the time of Black Lives Matter along with running commentaries that orient the reader and offer historical context, making this book a revealing look at a crucial slice of the American past?and present.