Critical Memory: Public Spheres, African American Writing, and Black Fathers and Sons in Americaby Houston Baker Jr.
Pub. Date: 03/19/2001
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
From the lone outcry of Richard Wright's Black Boy to the chorusing voices of Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March, Critical Memory looks across the past half century to assess the current challenges to African American cultural and intellectual life. As Houston A. Baker recalls his own youth in Louisville, Kentucky, and Washington, D.C., he situates/i>/i>
From the lone outcry of Richard Wright's Black Boy to the chorusing voices of Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March, Critical Memory looks across the past half century to assess the current challenges to African American cultural and intellectual life. As Houston A. Baker recalls his own youth in Louisville, Kentucky, and Washington, D.C., he situates such figures as Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Shelby Steele, O. J. Simpson, Chris Rock, and Jesse Jackson within such issues as the embattled state of African American manhood and the "financing and promotion of black intellectuals."
The "memory" of the book's title is doubly "critical." It is imperative, Baker says, that we keep alive the "embarrassing, macabre, and always bizarre" memory of race in America. In another respect, the remembering must be pointed and keen enough to discern truth from its often highly politicized, commercialized trappings. Throughout the book, Baker returns again and again to the triad of race, "likability" (the compromises by which one gains credibility in white America), and "clearance" (the separation of blacks from the "rights, spaces, and privileges of American citizenship"). These concepts, Baker argues, gird the meritocracy, still in force, that claimed progress in granting black men like his father the freedom to work themselves to death behind a desk instead of a mule.
In Critical Memory reason and cool rage converge to expose the draining tasks of reconciling white America's perception of its righteousness with its lack of relish for the truth it claims to welcome from black intellectuals and artists.
- University of Georgia Press
- Publication date:
- Georgia Southern University Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Lecture Series , #8
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.49(d)
Table of Contents
Black Modernity: Kitchen Memories, Likable Black Boys, and the American South
Failed Memory: Black Majority Modernism and Mr. Ellison's Invisible Man
Words for Black Fathers and Sons in America: Symbolic Politics and a Million Man March
End Thought: "Think of the Days of the Past, Learn from the Past"
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