Cover

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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-xiv

Dear Nikky,
There is little else I can do but respond to your collection, which, I confess, was clandestinely acquired and which I read with the furtive excitement of a child who is reading taboo—actually in print. The collection produces a feeling—a sense of...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xvi

My first breaths were drawn, my first words coaxed on a triangular patch of sandy land called South Carolina. This was land that Indians first inhabited and that Black folks, Africans, had made.1 I was born to a land thick with Spanish moss and swamp, cypress and live oak, and, in its day, slavery and many a rice field....

Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-4

Heel–Toe

The Blackened Alphabet

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pp. 7-7

Irons at Her Feet

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pp. 8-9

Yellow Jaundice

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pp. 10-14

The Goodfellows Club

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pp. 15-23

Cotton Tea

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pp. 24-25

Harry and Jainey

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pp. 26-30

Understudies

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pp. 31-38

My Centipeding Self

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pp. 39-41

Making Foots

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pp. 42-44

Lightkeeper

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pp. 45-46

In South Carolina: Where Black Schoolmarms Sleep

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pp. 47-50

Black Orion

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pp. 51-53

“God Ain’t Makin ’ No More Land”

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pp. 54-62

Thresh

The Afterbirth, 1931

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pp. 65-71

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

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pp. 72-73

The Sound of Burning Hair

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pp. 74-76

Dinosaur

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pp. 77-79

Pluck

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pp. 80-86

The Devil Is Beating His Wife

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pp. 87-90

Eskimo

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pp. 91-93

Acquanetta of Hollywood

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pp. 94-101

I Have Been Somewhere

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pp. 102-102

The Butt of the Joke

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pp. 103-108

South Africa: When a Woman Is a Rock

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pp. 109-111

The Ostrich

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pp. 112-112

Brown Country

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pp. 113-120

He Never Had It Made

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pp. 121-126

Winnow

The Turtle Ball

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pp. 129-133

Tenderheaded

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pp. 134-137

Living On What

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pp. 138-139

Mae/I

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pp. 140-143

Love Marrow 3

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pp. 144-145

Mute

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pp. 146-147

Permittable Thunder

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pp. 148-156

The Vertigo

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pp. 157-163

The Mapmaker

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pp. 164-165

The Savoy, 1926

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pp. 166-171

Daguerre of Negras

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pp. 172-175

Woman Holdin’ Up All Deeze Folks

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pp. 176-179

Rule Number One

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pp. 180-181

The End of It

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pp. 182-183

A Woman with Keys

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pp. 184-185

The Rice

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pp. 186-188

List of Photographs

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pp. 189-190

Further Reading

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pp. 191-192