Hearing the Hurt
Rhetoric, Aesthetics, and Politics of the New Negro Movement
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
Title Page, Copyright
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The very idea of writing acknowledgments is both exhilarating and daunting. This sort of work arises out of spaces and times populated by folks who will be remembered here and by persons who will be sadly overlooked. I begin, therefore...
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Near the end of the final chapter of Black Reconstruction in America, his groundbreaking study of important sociological and cultural indices related to African American development following the American Civil War, W. E. B. Du Bois asked a question...
1. “Hearing the Hurt”
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In a lost essay entitled “The New Negro,” submitted to Century magazine in 1887, W. E. B. Du Bois articulated the cultural mission that he believed was charged to him and his intellectual comrades at Fisk University— a time he later referred to as the...
2. “Of Beauty and Death”: W. E. B. Du Bois’s Darkwater
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When W. E. B. Du Bois returned to New York harbor in February 1919, after witnessing firsthand in Europe the world trying to destroy itself, he was haunted by the intuition that the First World War had somehow followed him back across the Atlantic...
3. “The Last and Best Gift of Africa”: Du Bois, Dewey, and a Black Public
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W. E. B. Du Bois may have been seated comfortably in his high-back leather chair in the offices of the Crisis as he perused the morning mail in August 1925, a day that was sure to be a muggy one in New York City; but he almost certainly felt like the captain...
4. “Negro Youth Speaks”: Alain Locke and The New Negro
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Several years before her emergence as a prolific and eccentric writer, Zora Neale Hurston counted herself as one of the fortunate recipients of Alain Locke’s counsel as an up-and- coming New Negro. Locke’s advice and guidance began when...
5. “A Lampblacked Anglo-Saxon”: George Schuyler and Langston Hughes in the Nation
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When Freda Kirchwey, the managing editor of the Nation, sorted through her mail on a crisp and clear October morning in 1925, she was both amused and annoyed by a submission from a rising journalistic star working for the Pittsburgh Courier...
6. “All Art Is Propaganda”: The Politics of a New Negro Aesthetics
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In his autobiography The Big Sea, Langston Hughes characterized the Harlem of the 1920s as a time and a place where “the Negro was in vogue.”1 This observation should be understood not simply as black life and culture being in fashion or in style...
7. “Paul’s Committed Suicide”: A Utopist Tragedy in Wallace Thurman’s Infants of the Spring
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In a letter dated October 8, 1928, Alain LeRoy Locke advised Scholley Pace Alexander, business manager of the soon-to- be- published literary magazine, Harlem: A Forum of Negro Life, about the new venture’s proper place in the New Negro movement and warned...
8. “You Mean You Don’t Want Me, ’Rene?”: Anxiety, Desire, and Madness in Nella Larsen’s Passing
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By spring of 1929, Alfred Knopf Publishing required little encouragement to distribute new literary works produced by younger members of the New Negro movement. Having already published Langston Hughes’s first two collections of poems...
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The New Negro movement was pronounced dead by 1935. This obituary in part reflected the economic catastrophe that impelled some formerly wealthy persons to fling themselves out of office windows. The death notice was true in the sense that the declaration...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2012