Mother Wit from the Laughing Barrel: Readings in the Interpretation of Afro-American Folklore / Edition 1

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Exploring the scope, diversity, and vitality of black culture, here is a fascinating collection of more than sixty articles from some of the most perceptive and authoritative commentators upon the black experience—Zora Neale Hurston, J. Mason Brewer, Sterling A. Brown, Eldridge Cleaver, Willis Laurence James, John Lovell Jr., Langston Hughes, Charles W. Chesnutt, Alan Lomax, Ralph Ellison, A. Philip Randolph, Newbell Niles Puckett, Roger D. Abrahams, and many others.

Readers cannot help coming away from this book with a new appreciation of the nature and richness of African American folklore. For those with little or no previous knowledge of this heterogeneous and spellbinding lore Mother Wit from the Laughing Barrel will be an eye-opening encounter.

Drawn out of the deep, rich well of African American culture, these essays convey the import of the black folk experience for all Americans. No library or individual with a serious interest in African American folklore should fail to own this remarkable anthology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878054787
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 12/28/1990
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 700
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi
Preface to the 1973 Edition xii
Folk & Lore 1
Race Pride & Folklore 3
As Crinkly as Yours 9
My People! My People! 22
The Negro Folk Cult 34
Backgrounds of Folklore in Negro Literature 39
The Negro Writer in America: An Exchange 45
I. The Folk Tradition 46
II. Change The Joke And Slip The Yoke 56
On Origins 65
The Negro-White Spiritual 67
African Influence on the Music of the Americas 81
Residual African Elements in the Blues 95
Jazz Choreology 104
African Tales Among the North American Indians 114
Problems Confronting the Investigator of Gullah 126
Americanisms That May Once Have Been Africanisms 136
Folk Speech 141
Designations for Colored Folk 142
Names of American Negro Slaves 156
On the Grammar of Afro-American Naming Practices 175
Black Ulysses in Camp 182
Dialogues of the Old & the New Porter 199
The Technique of Jive 206
Story in Harlem Slang 222
The Language of Soul 230
Hidden Language: Ghetto Children Know What They're Talking About 238
Verbal Art 245
Old-Time Negro Proverbs 246
Old-Time Courtship Conversation 251
Double Meaning in the Popular Negro Blues 258
I Can Peep Through Muddy Water & Spy Dry Land: Boasts in the Blues 267
The Dozens: Dialectic of Insult 277
Playing the Dozens 295
Signifying 310
Toasts 329
Meet "Mr. Franklin": An Example of Usage 348
Street Smarts 353
Folk Belief 357
Conjuring & Conjure-Doctors 359
Superstitions & Folklore of the South 369
Braziel Robinson Possessed of Two Spirits 377
Mojo 380
The Little Man 388
The Human Hand Threat 397
Contemporary Patterns of Malign Occultism Among Negroes in North Carolina 402
Symbiosis: The Case of Hoodoo & the Numbers Racket 419
Folk Music 429
The Romance of the Negro Folk Cry in America 430
Negro "Shouts" from Georgia 445
The Social Implications of the Negro Spiritual 452
Follow the Drinking Gourd 465
I Got the Blues 469
Protest and Irony in Negro Folksong 487
Social Influences on Jazz Style: Chicago, 1920-30 501
The Acculturation of the Delta Negro 515
Folk Narrative 523
Uncle Remus & the Malevolent Rabbit 524
High John de Conquer 541
Negro Humor: John & Old Marster 549
The Steel Drivin' Man 561
The Career of "John Henry" 568
Ba-ad Nigger 578
The Ghostly Legend of the Ku-Klux Klan 586
Caddy Buffers: Legends of a Middle-Class Negro Family in Philadelphia 595
Folk Humor 611
Frontiers of Humor: American Vernacular Dance 613
Humor as a Technique in Race Conflict 620
Jokes Among Southern Negroes: The Revelation of Conflict 628
Jokes Negroes Tell on Themselves 637
Genital Superiority in Oakland Negro Folklore: A Theme 642
Jokes and Black Consciousness: A Collection with Interviews 649
Suggestions for Further Reading in American Negro Folklore 670
Addendum 673
Additional Sources for Afro-American Scholarship 675
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