France became configured as a space and a cultural apparatus of democracy and 'color-blindness' by African American writers around World War I. W.E.B. Du Bois, Addie Hunton, and Gwendolyn Bennett identified French as replete with a democratic consciousness, and suggested learning French thereby challenges the racialized body politic of the U.SA. Despite the limited and strategic value of this position, as recognised by Rudolph Fisher and evident when juxtaposed to French colonial policy, the essay argues that France's role as a polemical lever for civil rights struggle in the U.S.A. is an important legacy for the New Negro Renaissance.


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