Manning the Race: Reforming Black Men in the Jim Crow Era

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Manning the Race explores how African American men have been marketed, embodied, and imaged for the purposes of racial advancement during the early decades of the twentieth century. Marlon Ross provides an intellectual history of both famous and lesser-known men who have served—controversially—as models and foils for black masculine competence.

Ross examines a host of early twentieth-century cultural sites where black masculinity struggles against Jim Crow: the mobilization of the New Negro; the sexual politics of autobiography in the post-emancipation generation; the emergence of black male sociology; sexual rivalry and networking in biracial uplift institutions; Negro Renaissance arts patronage; and the sexual construction of the black urban folk novel. Focusing on the overlooked dynamics of symbolic fraternity, intimate friendship, and erotic bonding within and across gender, Manning the Race is the first book to integrate same-sexuality into the cultural history of black manhood. By approaching black manhood as a culturally contested arena, this important new work reveals the changing meanings and enactments of race, gender, nation, and sexuality in modern America.

Manning the Race opens new approaches to the study of black manhood in relation to U.S. culture. Where previous books tended to emphasize how individual black men's identities have been reactively informed by the U.S. regime of race and sexuality, Manning the Race makes the case for understanding how black men themselves have been primary agents and subjects in formulating the identity and practices of black manhood.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This major effort describes and analyzes how African American men were socialized and imaged for their public and private roles in the early 20th Century. Ross takes readers deeper into new dimensions of the Harlem Renaissance and African American urban life."


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814775639
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Series: Sexual Cultures Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 463
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Marlon Ross is Professor of English in the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia. He is the author of The Contours of Masculine Desire: Romanticism and the Rise of Women's Poetry.

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Table of Contents

I Trespassing the color line : aggressive mobility, sexual transgression, and racial consolidation in new negro movements 15
1 Un/sexing the race : modernizing and marketing the new world negro 21
Migratory mobility and the sexually assertive race tract : Chesnutt and Pickens 26
Staging the race : verbal display in Du Bois and Washington 41
The arrested gaze : the race album and the fraternal look of the new world negro 61
The inner genius of new negrodom : the aesthetics of modernity in Locke's New negro 77
2 The cool pose of racial trespassing : new negro personal narrative as Jim Crow realism 90
Defending manhood as new negro weapon : Pickens's Bursting bonds 94
Sissy heroics : Walter White's Fire in the flint 105
The black body as uplift instruemnt : the personal narratives of Ida B. Wells and Taylor Gordon 120
3 New negro social science : sexual deviance, black male professionalization, and the sociology of containment 145
The migratory nether world : the "submerged tenth" in Du Bois's sociology of surveillance 149
The black male sociologist as chivalrous Christian mediator : George Edmund Haynes 162
The social accommodations of Chicago sociology in Charles S. Johnson and E. Franklin Frazier 166
Between the lines of Drake and Cayton's Black metropolis 186
II Negotiating racial uplift : gender rivalry and erotic longing in the making of new negro patronage 193
4 Civilizing acts : the sexual appeals of patronage in new negro political organizing 200
The machinery of patronage 204
Mothering the race : the white woman as race patron 225
Tutoring "the lady of the races" : the ambivalent attraction of the white male patron 238
5 Midwifing the renaissance : prostitution, same-sexuality, and the procreative logic of patronage 252
Tropes of affiliation : theorizing the sexual subtexts of renaissance patronage 253
The false(tto) accent of white bothemianism : McKay's patronage attack 267
Godmothering and the psychic traps of race patronage 281
"Pussy-footing" Dr. Locke : masculine networking as (homo)racial contest 284
III "A city jungle this" : footloose desire and the sexual underworlds of Harlem renaissance fiction 301
6 Waging urban warfare : violence, fraternity, and eroticism in black men's urban folk narrative 309
Rudolph Fisher's moderated manhood 315
Reforming martial and marital values of manhood in McKay's Home to Harlem 330
Pals and lovers : companions and men-loving men in the urban folk novel 337
7 Unromantically inclined : female protagonists and the resistance to dominant masculinity 355
Mobile heroines : the female-centered precursors of urban folk fiction 357
The quicksand of black feminine desire 363
Same-sexuality, sadomasochism, and feminine rebellion in Thurman's Blacker the berry 379
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