Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

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Introduction: Family Matters

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pp. 1-16

Tensions around marriage and family provide perhaps some of the most compelling examples of the ambivalence around respectability politics for many Blacks in the United States and the Caribbean. Take, for instance, the issue of marriage. In a recent article entitled “When Having...

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1: A Wide Confraternity: Diaspora and Family in Paule Marshall’s Praisesong for the Widow

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pp. 17-44

On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to designate the third Monday of every January a federal holiday honoring the birth of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The next day, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who had worked with King in the 1960s, declared...

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2: Sins of the Mother? Ambivalence, Agency, and the Family Romance in Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John

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pp. 45-73

When asked why she crafts iconoclastic characters that often exhibit a sort of “negative freedom,” Antiguan author Jamaica Kincaid explains, “Perversely, I will not give the happy ending. I think life is difficult and that’s that. I am not at all—absolutely not at all—interested in the pursuit...

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3: Daughters of This Land: Genealogies of Resistance in Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory

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pp. 74-102

Haitian American author Edwidge Danticat published her debut novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, in 1994, a pivotal moment in Haitian history. That same year the nation’s first democratically elected president in decades, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, returned to office with great fanfare after having...

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4: The Language of Family: Talking Back to Narratives of Black Pathology in Sapphire’s Push

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pp. 103-134

On August 22, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, more commonly known as welfare reform. The Clinton administration described the legislation as a “comprehensive bipartisan welfare reform plan...

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Epilogue

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pp. 135-140

There are signs everywhere reminding us of the importance of thinking energetically about Black families in the Caribbean and the United States. Take, for example, a recent experience I had. I spent a good part of the first week of July 2012 looking for the August edition of Essence...

Notes

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pp. 141-160

Works Cited

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pp. 161-172

Index

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pp. 173-178