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Chapter 11 - Reconstructions of the South in African American Literature

from Part III - Memories, Materialities, and Locations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 March 2021

Eric Gardner
Affiliation:
Saginaw Valley State University
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Summary

Sherita Johnson considers a region much more associated with African Americans in Reconstruction in her “Reconstruction of the South in African American Literature.” Johnson examines the transformations of a place, people, and Black literary tradition(s) responding to the political and cultural conflicts of the era and finds that Elizabeth Keckley, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, William Wells Brown, James Madison Bell, Albery A. Whitman and Pauline Hopkins all present “Black witnesses” to Reconstruction in their works: slaves emancipating themselves, freedmen and women staking claims to Southern homes built by generational struggles, and black citizens enacting the promises of democracy. Ultimately, her chapter provides case studies of diverse texts – travel narratives, epic poems, autobiographical sketches, and moral theatre – to consider how such works by African American writers help to correct the historical record of Reconstruction and of Southern literary history.

Type
Chapter
Information
African American Literature in Transition, 1865–1880
Black Reconstructions
, pp. 259 - 283
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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