Title Page, Copyright Page

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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

In an effort to remember those who helped me develop a question into a monograph, I begin my acknowledgments with this project’s genesis. My doctoral exam committee sagely encouraged me to “go back earlier” when I discussed only post-1970s literary representations in...

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Introduction: Defining Jane Crow

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pp. 1-24

The shadow of Jim Crow loomed over African Americans’ bodies and imaginations throughout the first half of the twentieth century. As the personification of racial discrimination, Jim Crow was a mocking nineteenth-century stereotype performed by blackface minstrels and a...

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1: At the Point of No Return: A Native Son and His Gorgon Muse

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pp. 25-53

In the essay “How Bigger Was Born” (1940), Richard Wright first discusses the impetus behind his best-selling first novel, Native Son (1940), then divulges his intentions to complete a new, unnamed work theorizing the distinct grievances of black women. Wright credits his northern...

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2: Gender Conscriptions, Class Conciliations, and the Bourgeois Blues Aesthetic

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pp. 54-116

In The Correct Thing to Do—to Say—to Wear (1940), educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown offers the etiquette advice in the first epigraph as an early twentieth-century script for African American women’s performance of middle-class respectability. The list of twenty-four do’s and implied don’ts...

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4: “I’ll See How Crazy They Think I Am”:Pulping Sexual Violence, Racial Melancholia, and Healthy Citizenship

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pp. 117-143

Before Daisy Bates promised her dying father that she would not allow whites’ racism to debilitate her, she nurtured a secret enmity against them. Bates became president of the Arkansas Conference of the NAACP in 1952, and she was an advisor to the Little Rock Nine during the integration...

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5: Rereading the Construction of Womanhood in Popular Narratives of Domesticity

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pp. 144-173

Signifying on the Bible’s Twenty-third Psalm, Johnny Dirthrower’s impassioned 1950 letter to the editors of Negro Digest criticizes Johnson Publishing Company’s exploitation of black readers. The letter translates biblical piety into a condemnation of print discourses produced by,...

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6: The Audacity of Hope: An American Daughter and Her Dream of Cultural Hybridity

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pp. 174-202

Before semiretiring as the international editor of Ebony magazine in 1970 and receiving the prestigious Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award in 1976, Era Bell Thompson recounted her coming of age as a black woman and a writer in her autobiography, American Daughter (1946). The memoir...

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Epilogue: Refashioning Jane Crowand the Black Female Body

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pp. 203-220

While the previous chapters favor portraits of black female subjectivity in mid-twentieth-century African American novels, I round off my discussion with Jackie Ormes’s contemporaneous illustrations of black womanhood. This epilogue ends Writing through Jane Crow in the manner in which the...

Notes

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pp. 221-248

Works Cited

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pp. 249-270

Index

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pp. 271-281