The Negro Traditions

Overview

This collection of previously unpublished tales is a major contribution to the annals of African-American folk narrative. Ranging from fables to historical narratives, these tales contain a rich variety of information on folk customs, speech, and songs, providing the reader with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for nineteenth-century African-American culture. Negro Traditions offers wonderful descriptions of all manner of rural African-American folk customs, including valuable insights into post-Civil ...
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Overview

This collection of previously unpublished tales is a major contribution to the annals of African-American folk narrative. Ranging from fables to historical narratives, these tales contain a rich variety of information on folk customs, speech, and songs, providing the reader with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for nineteenth-century African-American culture. Negro Traditions offers wonderful descriptions of all manner of rural African-American folk customs, including valuable insights into post-Civil War life in rural Middle Tennessee - from riddles to dances - and how former slaves and their children felt about their lives. At times the movement of these tales toward tragedy is reminiscent of Faulkner; their humor suggests Sut Lovingood; their occasional dark surrealism has overtones of Cormac McCarthy. But the overriding reality of these tales as a representation of a people and their culture gives them a power that moves the reader beyond fiction and into factuality. Here are no banjo-plunking renditions of "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah"; these tales are full of the realities of life: violence, work, the power of the supernatural, family life, racial tension, and an intense burning resentment against slavery.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The editors provide an introduction and scholarly apparatus to a collection of previously unpublished tales that constitute a major contribution to the annals of African-American folk narrative. Talley, who was a chemistry professor at Fisk University and a pioneer in African-American folklore, collected these tales during the 1920s from childhood memories of stories told during the post-Civil War era by friends and family in rural Tennessee. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870499258
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1996
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Editors' Introduction
A Note on the Manuscript
Acknowledgments
Preface
De Wull-er-de-Wust (Will o' the Wisp) 1
Cotton-eyed Joe or The Origin of the Weeping Willow 25
Why the Jaybird Goes to See the "Bad Man" on Friday 49
The Headless Man 66
Why the Buzzard is Black 99
The Negro Slave in the Moon 115
How the Bear Lost His Judgeship 130
Why the Irishman Is a Railroad Section Boss 151
Why the Preacher Dresses in Black 170
The Parrot Overseer 187
The Courting Old Woman 206
Why the Cat and the Dog Are Enemies 223
The Dog's Habits, Origin of 238
The Devil's Daughters or Why the Fish Have Fins 252
Why White Overseers of Negro Slaves Had Little Sense 285
Riddle Them Right 300
Selected African-American FolkMotifs in The Negro Traditions 329
Bibliography 331
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