Bearing Witness to African American Literature
Validating and Valorizing Its Authority, Authenticity, and Agency
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Wayne State University Press
Series: African American Life Series
Preface: Every Tongue Got to Confess
While the origins of our genetic cousins in Africa and the lessons of our genealogical African ancestors remind us that “I am because we are, and since we are therefore I am” (Hord and Lee 8), the resilience, resourcefulness, and . . .
“Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands,” African American gay novelist, playwright, and essayist James Baldwin reminded us in the biblical and black spiritual jeremiad at the end of The Fire Next Time (1963); “we have no . . .
1. Double Consciousness as the Sign of African American Difference
“The legend has it,” says an African American contemporary celebrant of Jubilee, “that a Negro got a mule in Washington and arrived in [each?] town on June 19th with the Emancipation Proclamation. So that July 4th is whites’ . . .
2. The Roots and Branches of the African American Literary Tradition
“Anyone who analyzes black literature,” writes literary critic Henry Louis Gates Jr., “must do so as a comparativist [. . .] because our canonical texts have complex double formal antecedents, the Western and the black” . . .
3. Modern and Contemporary African American Vernacular and Literary Voices
If trouble was money, to borrow a line from bluesman Albert Collins, the black folks in John Edgar Wideman’s latest novel would be millionaires. Two Cities is a compelling culmination of the theme of contemporary black urban male . . .
4. Womanist African American Vernacular and Literary Voices
The novels of Ann Petry have been overshadowed and her talent misrepresented by their frequent comparison to the fiction and achievement of Richard Wright and Chester Himes. Robert Bone, for example, claims that . . .
5. Bearing Witness to the Changing Same: Representations of Black American Identity in American and African American Literature
Back during the days before the brothers on the block began singing “I’m Black and I’m Proud” in the street with James Brown and before the sisters in the storefront church began bearing witness from the amen corner to . . .