Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

Exodus Politics came to fruition not simply as a result of my research, thinking, and writing. Thankfully, I also had friends and colleagues who provided intellectual spaces in which my ideas could grow. Equally important, I had friends and family who provided the emotional support necessary for me to succeed in this endeavor. And last but certainly not ...

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Introduction: Civil Rights, Leadership,and Exodus Politics

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pp. 1-32

In Race Matters (1993), Cornel West argues that black leadership has entered a state of crisis because post−civil rights era black leaders do not possess “a collective and critical consciousness” for improving the plight of the black masses.1 While romanticizing the commitment of pre−civil rights and civil rights era leaders to black communal enfranchisement, ...

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1 / “Is He the One?”: Civil Rights Activismand Leadership in Ernest Gaines’sThe Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

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pp. 33-61

The publication of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971) defined Ernest Gaines’s position as a national and international literary historian,1 for the text makes a self-conscious effort to record African American women’s and men’s leadership in civil rights struggles from Emancipation to the middle of the civil rights movement. Like other fiction ...

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2 / “The Refusal of Christ to Accept Crucifixion”: Bridge Leadership in Alice Walker’s Meridian

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pp. 62-89

Claims that the civil rights movement began to decline in 1965, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and ended in 1968, with the death of Dr. King, declare a decisive break in history marked by the end of that movement, the rise of the Black Power movement, and the onset of a post–civil rights era.1 Even more problematically, they bind the ...

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3 / “The Important Thing Is Making Generations”: Reproduction and Blues Performance as Forms of Civil Rights Leadership in Gayl Jones’s Corregidora

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pp. 90-124

Gayl Jones’s first novel Corregidora (1975), like Gaines’s Miss Pittman and Walker’s Meridian, provides a fruitful discursive space to call into question the tendency of exodus politics to idealize black male formal leadership and conceptualize civil rights as separate from black women’s gender and sexual rights. Whereas...

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4 / “We All Killed Him”: The Limits of Formal Leadership and Civil Rights Legislationin Charles Johnson’s Dreamer

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pp. 125-152

Published at the end of the twentieth century, Charles Johnson’s Dreamer (1998) engaged debates about civil rights, black leadership, and black politics that had persisted throughout the twentieth century. In 1903, for example, W. E. B. DuBois famously prophesied that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,—the relation ...

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Epilogue: Is There Life after Exodus Politics?

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pp. 153-162

When Oprah Winfrey decided to endorse Barack Obama’s presidential bid, she carved out a new space for herself in American electoral politics. Although Winfrey previously had not endorsed any presidential candidate, her use of messianic typology demonstrated her familiarity with...

Notes

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pp. 163-178

Bibliography

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pp. 179-194

Index

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pp. 195-202