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Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America since 1940

Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America since 1940

by Jonathan Scott Holloway
Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America since 1940

Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America since 1940

by Jonathan Scott Holloway

NOOK Book(eBook)

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How do we balance the desire for tales of exceptional accomplishment with the need for painful doses of reality? How hard do we work to remember our past or to forget it? These are some of the questions that Jonathan Scott Holloway addresses in this exploration of race memory from the dawn of the modern civil rights era to the present. Relying on social science, documentary film, dance, popular literature, museums, memoir, and the tourism trade, Holloway explores the stories black Americans have told about their past and why these stories are vital to understanding a modern black identity. In the process, Holloway asks much larger questions about the value of history and facts when memories do violence to both.
Making discoveries about his own past while researching this book, Holloway weaves first-person and family memories into the traditional third-person historian's perspective. The result is a highly readable, rich, and deeply personal narrative that will be familiar to some, shocking to others, and thought-provoking to everyone.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469610719
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 10/15/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Jonathan Scott Holloway is provost of Northwestern University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: The Scars of Memory 1

1 Editing and the Art of Forgetfulness in Social Science 14

2 Memory and Racial Humiliation in Popular Literature 40

3 The Black Body as Archive of Memory 67

4 Black Scholars and Memory in the Age of Black Studies 102

5 The Silences in a Civil Rights Narrative 135

6 Heritage Tourism, Museums of Horror, and the Commerce of Memory 174

Epilogue: Memory in the Diaspora 214

Notes 231

Bibliography 251

Index 269

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

An evocative, beautifully written exploration of knowledge production, memory, and self-creation in African American life. Jim Crow Wisdom is compelling.—Imani Perry, Princeton University

Part history, part memoir, part cultural analysis, Jim Crow Wisdom is a riveting, beautiful, tragicomic meditation on the work and consequences of forgetting. This is not just another book about memory. Rather, it is a soul-bearing, audacious act of truth and reconciliation, an accounting of those stories we suppress and sanitize and revise, and a critical examination of what's at stake. A gifted story-teller, Jonathan Holloway isn't interested in "airing dirty laundry," but asking whether it was ever dirty in the first place and who really owns our traumatic past? Jim Crow wisdom, in other words, is not a "Black Thang" but an American dilemma.— Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times

Beautifully written and broadly accessible, Jim Crow Wisdom opens up entirely new conversations about what we think to be familiar topics. Jonathan Holloway's reading of film, literature, tourist sites, and the very act of remembering itself does more than merely tell us about African American identity; it helps us understand the story of this nation—even if it is a story that many people don't want to tell.—Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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