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Chapter 10 - Writing Race and Remembrance in the Civil Rights Movement Years

from Part I - Origins and Histories

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 September 2021

Joycelyn Moody
Affiliation:
University of Texas, San Antonio
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Summary

Norman’s chapter excavates a missing element in studies of the civil rights autobiography tradition: narratives by children who did not tell their own story, but who nevertheless were central to the movement and in many cases helped shape it. These include Melba Patillo Beals, one of the Littlerock Nine and author of Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High. Norman argues that, adorned with diverse artifacts of Black print culture, Beals’s autobiography invites the reader into a journey of becoming a face of everyday Black heroism amid pervasive and fierce white commitments to segregation. Just as important as Beals’s life narrative are those of everyday living during a period of massive social change, including Rosemary Bray’s Unafraid of the Dark: A Memoir, which details a childhood shaped by poverty, Catholicism, the welfare state, and a freedom movement providing new language, models, and hopes for a nation’s citizens. Norman’s chapter ultimately traces African American autobiography by children of the movement from Amira Baraka’s daughter Lisa to Paul Coates’s son Ta-Nehisi.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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