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From Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance
In identifying Jim Crow with the coming of modernity, Smethurst focuses on how artists reacted to the system’s racial territorialization, especially in urban areas, with migration narratives, poetry about the black experience, and black performance of popular culture forms such as ragtime and vaudeville. He shows how black writers such as Fenton Johnson and William Stanley Braithwaite circulated some of the earliest and strongest ideas about an American “bohemia.” Smethurst also upsets the customary assessment of the later Harlem Renaissance as the first and primary site of a nationally significant black arts movement by examining the influence of these earlier writers and artists on the black and white modernists who followed. In so doing, Smethurst brings forward a host of understudied figures while recontextualizing the work of canonical authors such as Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and James Weldon Johnson. As such, Smethurst positions his work as part of the current growing intellectual conversation about the nature of African American literature and culture between Reconstruction and the Harlem Renaissance. Far from being a “nadir” period, Smethurst argues, this period saw black artists creating cultural forms from which issued some of the most significant literary works of the twentieth century.
Mobility and Cultural Work in the Age of Jim Crow
During the Jim Crow era, African American travelers faced the prospects of violence, harassment, and the denial of services, especially as they made their way throughout the American South. Those who journeyed outside the United States found not only a political and social context that was markedly different from America’s, but in their international mobility, they also discovered new ways of identifying themselves in relation to others. In this book, Gary Totten examines the global travel narratives of a diverse set of African American writers, including Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, Matthew Henson, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and Zora Neale Hurston. While these writers deal with issues of identity in relation to a reimagined sense of self—in a way that we might expect to find in travel narratives—they also push against the constraints and conventions of the genre, reconsidering discourses of tourism, ethnography, and exploration. This book not only offers new insights about African American writers and mobility, it also charts the ideological distinctions and divergent agendas within this group of writers. Totten demonstrates how these travelers and their writings challenged dominant ideologies about African American experience, expression, and identity in a period of escalating racial violence. By setting these texts in their historical context and within the genre of travel writing, Totten presents a nuanced understanding of both popular and recovered work of the period.
Writing in true social history tradition, William W. Giffin presents a magisterial study of African Americans focusing on times that saw the culmination of trends that were fundamentally important in shaping the twentieth century. While many scholars have examined African Americans in the South and such large cities as New York and Chicago during this time, other important urban areas have been ignored. Ohio, with its large but very different urban centers—notably, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati—provides Giffin with the wealth of statistical data and qualitative material that he uses to argue that the “color line” in Ohio hardened during this time period as the Great Migration gained force. His data show, too, that the color line varied according to urban area—it hardened progressively as one traveled South in the state. In addition, whereas previous studies have concentrated on activism at the national level through such groups as the NAACP, Giffin shows how African American men and women in Ohio constantly negotiated the color line on a local level, through both resistance and accommodation on a daily and very interpersonal level with whites, other blacks, and people of different ethnic, class, and racial backgrounds. This early grassroots resistance provided the groundwork for the Civil Rights movement that would gain momentum some twenty years later. This analysis of the Ohio color line speaks to those historians who still are inclined to discuss Jim Crow as a wholly southern phenomenon. It indicates that the color line in the North was not uniform and provides further evidence of the importance of locale and local people in African American history. At the same time, it offers stories of inherent interest revealing human conduct at its best and worst.
The history of South Texas is more racially and ethnically complex than many people realize. As a border area, South Texas has experienced some especially interesting forms of racial and ethnic intersection, influenced by the relatively small number of blacks (especially in certain counties), the function and importance of the South Texas cattle trade, proximity to Mexico, and the history of anti-black violence. The essays in African Americans in South Texas History give insight into this fascinating history. The articles in this volume, written over a span of almost three decades, were chosen for their readability, scholarship, and general interest. Contributors: Jennifer Borrer Edward Byerly Judith Kaaz Doyle Rob Fink Robert A. Goldberg Kenneth Wayne Howell Larry P. Knight Rebecca A. Kosary David Louzon Sarah R. Massey Jeanette Nyda Mendelssohn Passty Janice L. Sumler-Edmond Cary D. Wintz Rue Wood " . . . a valuable addition to the literature chronicling the black experience in the land of the Lone Star. While previous studies have concentrated on regions most reflective of Dixie origins, this collection examines the tri-ethnic area of Texas adjoining Mexico wherein cotton was scarce and cattle plentiful. Glasrud has assembled an excellent group of essays from which readers will learn much."-L. Patrick Hughes, professor of history, Austin Community College
The history of South Texas is more racially and ethnically complex than many people realize. As a border area, South Texas has experienced some especially interesting forms of racial and ethnic intersection, influenced by the relatively small number of blacks (especially in certain counties), the function and importance of the South Texas cattle trade, proximity to Mexico, and the history of anti-black violence. The essays in African Americans in South Texas History give insight into this fascinating history.
The articles in this volume, written over a span of almost three decades, were chosen for their readability, scholarship, and general interest.
Judith Kaaz Doyle
Robert A. Goldberg
Kenneth Wayne Howell
Larry P. Knight
Rebecca A. Kosary
Sarah R. Massey
Jeanette Nyda Mendelssohn Passty
Janice L. Sumler-Edmond
Cary D. Wintz
" . . . a valuable addition to the literature chronicling the black experience in the land of the Lone Star. While previous studies have concentrated on regions most reflective of Dixie origins, this collection examines the tri-ethnic area of Texas adjoining Mexico wherein cotton was scarce and cattle plentiful. Glasrud has assembled an excellent group of essays from which readers will learn much."-L. Patrick Hughes, professor of history, Austin Community College
From the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama
Bookended by remarks from African American diplomats Walter C. Carrington and Charles Stith, the essays in this volume use close readings of speeches, letters, historical archives, diaries, and memoirs of policymakers and newly available FBI files to confront much-neglected questions related to race and foreign relations in the United States. Why, for instance, did African Americans profess loyalty and support for the diplomatic initiatives of a nation that undermined their social, political, and economic well-being through racist policies and cultural practices? Other contributions explore African Americans' history in the diplomatic and consular services and the influential roles of cultural ambassadors like Joe Louis and Louis Armstrong. The volume concludes with an analysis of the effects on race and foreign policy in the administration of Barack Obama. Groundbreaking and critical, African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy expands on the scope and themes of recent collections to offer the most up-to-date scholarship to students in a range of disciplines, including U.S. and African American history, Africana studies, political science, and American studies.
West Africans in Post-Civil Rights America
Examines how in the middle of the twentieth century, Bahian elites began to recognize African-Bahian cultural practices as essential components of Bahian regional identity. Previously, public performances of traditionally African-Bahian practices such as capoeira, samba, and Candomblé during carnival and other popular religious festivals had been repressed in favor of more European traditions.
Memory, Spirituality, and Space
In 1991, archaeologists in lower Manhattan unearthed a stunning discovery. Buried for more than 200 years was a communal cemetery containing the remains of up to 20,000 people. At roughly 6.6 acres, the African Burial Ground is the largest and earliest known burial space of African descendants in North America. In the years that followed its discovery, citizens and activists fought tirelessly to demand respectful treatment of eighteenth-century funerary remains and sacred ancestors. After more than a decade of political battle—on local and national levels—and scientific research at Howard University, the remains were eventually reburied on the site in 2003. Capturing the varied perspectives and the emotional tenor of the time, Frohne narrates the story of the African Burial Ground and the controversies surrounding urban commemoration. She analyzes both its colonial and contemporary representations, drawing on colonial-era maps, prints, and land surveys to illuminate the forgotten and hidden visual histories of a mostly enslaved population buried in the African Burial Ground. Today, personal offerings and commemorative artworks, many of which incorporate traditional African and diasporic arts and religions, pay tribute to the ancestors and the sacred space. Tracing the history and identity of the area from a forgotten site to a contested and negotiated space, Frohne situates the burial ground within the context of late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century race relations in New York City to reveal its enduring presence as a spiritual place. Finally, she illustrates visually, spiritually, and spatially the historic and contemporary formation of a New York City African diaspora in relation to the African Burial Ground.