Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem: African American Literature and Culture, 1877-1919

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"This is a vital reappraisal. These essays compellingly return to the often-neglected period known in African American history as 'The Nadir' to ensure that it will never again be seen as a cultural disappointment."--Carla Kaplan, author of Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters The years between the collapse of Reconstruction and the end of World War I mark a pivotal moment in African American cultural production. Christened the "Post-Bellum-Pre-Harlem" era by the novelist Charles Chesnutt, these years look back to the antislavery movement and forward to the artistic flowering and racial self-consciousness of the Harlem Renaissance. Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem offers fresh perspectives on the literary and cultural achievements of African American men and women during this critically neglected, though vitally important, period of our nation's past. Using a wide range of disciplinary approaches, the sixteen scholars gathered here offer both a reappraisal and celebration of African American cultural production during these influential decades. Alongside discussions of political and artistic icons such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and James Weldon Johnson are essays revaluing figures such as the writers Paul and Alice Dunbar-Nelson, the New England painter Edward Mitchell Bannister, and Georgia-based activists Lucy Craft Laney and Emmanuel King Love. Contributors explore an array of forms from fine art to anti-lynching drama, from sermons to ragtime and blues, and from dialect pieces and early black musical theater to serious fiction. Contributors include: Frances Smith Foster, Carla L. Peterson, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Audrey Thomas McCluskey, Barbara Ryan, Robert M. Dowling, Barbara A. Baker, Paula Bernat Bennett, Philip J. Kowalski, Nikki L. Brown, Koritha A. Mitchell, Margaret Crumpton Winter, Rhonda Reymond, and Andrew J. Scheiber.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a rich portrait of a complex period that has been long neglected.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814731680
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 298
  • Sales rank: 1,320,405
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara McCaskill is General Sandy Beaver teaching professor and associate professor of English at The University of Georgia.

Caroline Gebhard is associate professor of English at Tuskegee University.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Reimagining the past
1 Creative collaboration : as African American as sweet potato pie 17
2 Commemorative ceremonies and invented traditions : history, memory, and modernity in the "new Negro" novel of the Nadir 34
Pt. II Meeting freedom : self-invention, artistic innovation, and race progress (1870s-1880s)
3 Landscapes of labor : race, religion, and Rhode Island in the painting of Edward Mitchell Bannister 59
4 "Manly husbands and womanly wives" : the leadership of educator Lucy Craft Laney 74
5 Old and new issue servants : "race" men and women weigh in 89
6 Savannah's Colored Tribune, the Reverend E. K. Love, and the sacred rebellion of uplift 101
Pt. III Encountering Jim Crow : African American literature and the mainstream (1890s)
7 A marginal man in black bohemia : James Weldon Johnson in the New York Tenderloin 117
8 Jamming with Julius : Charles Chesnutt and the post-bellum - pre-Harlem blues 133
9 Rewriting Dunbar : realism, black women poets, and the genteel 146
10 Inventing a "Negro literature" : race dialect, and gender in the early work of Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Weldon Johnson, and Alice Dunbar-Nelson 162
Pt. IV Turning the century : new political, cultural, and personal aesthetics (1900-1917)
11 No excuses for our dirt : Booker T. Washington and a "new Negro" middle class 181
12 War work, social work, community work : Alice Dunbar-Nelson, federal war work agencies, and Southern African American women 197
13 Antilynching plays : Angelina Weld Grimke, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and the evolution of African American drama 210
14 Henry Ossawa Tanner and W. E. B. Du Bois : African American art and "high culture" at the turn into the twentieth century 231
15 The folk, the school and the marketplace : locations of culture in The souls of black folk 250
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