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In a segregated society in which black scholars, writers, and artists could find few ways to reach an audience, journalism was a means of dispersing information to communities throughout the United States. The black press has offered incisive critiques of such issues as racism, identify, class, and economic injustice, but that contribution to public discourse has remained largely unrecognized until now. The original essays in this volume broaden our understanding of the "public sphere" and show how marginalized voices attempted to be heard in the circles of debate and dissent that existed in their day. The Black Press progresses chronologically from slavery to the impact and implications of the Internet to reveal how the press's content and its very form changed with evolving historical and cultural conditions in America. The first papers fought for rights for free blacks in the North. The early twentieth-century black press sought to define itself and its community amidst American modernism. Writers in the 1960s took on the task of defining revolution in that decade's ferment. It was not been until the mid-twentieth century that African American cultural study began to achieve intellectual respectability. The Black Press addresses the production, distribution, regulation, and reception of black journalism in order to illustrate a more textured public discourse, one that exchanges ideas not just within the black community, but also within the nation at large. The essays demonstrate that the black press redefined class, restaged race and nationhood, and reset the terms of public conversation, providing a fuller understanding of not just African American culture, but also the varied cultural battles fought throughout our country's history.
A Companion to African American History is a collection of original and authoritative essays arranged thematically and topically, covering a wide range of subjects from the seventeenth century to the present day. Analyzes the major sources and the most influential books and articles in the field Includes discussions of globalization, region, migration, gender, class and social forces that make up the broad cultural fabric of African American history
The book describes the movement by African American authors from slave narratives and antebellum newspapers into fiction writing, and the subsequent developments of black genre fiction through the present. It analyzes works by modern African American mystery writers, focusing on sleuths, the social locations of crime, victims and offenders, the notion of "doing justice," and the role of African American cultural vernacular in mystery fiction. A final section focuses on readers and reading, examining African American mystery writers' access to the marketplace and the issue of the "double audience" raised by earlier writers.
What did it mean for people of color in nineteenth-century America to speak or write “white”? More specifically, how many and what kinds of meaning could such “white” writing carry? In ReWriting White, Todd Vogel looks at how America has racialized language and aesthetic achievement. To make his point, he showcases the surprisingly complex interactions between four nineteenth-century writers of color and the “standard white English” they adapted for their own moral, political, and social ends. The African American, Native American, and Chinese American writers Vogel discusses delivered their messages in a manner that simultaneously demonstrated their command of the dominant discourse of their times—using styles and addressing forums considered above their station—and fashioned a subversive meaning in the very act of that demonstration. The close readings and meticulous archival research in ReWriting White upend our conventional expectations, enrich our understanding of the dynamics of hegemony and cultural struggle, and contribute to the efforts of other cutting-edge contemporary scholars to chip away at the walls of racial segregation that have for too long defined and defaced the landscape of American literary and cultural studies.
The Harlem riot of 1935 not only signaled the end of the Harlem Renaissance; it made black America's cultural capital an icon for the challenges of American modernity. Luring photographers interested in socially conscious, journalistic, and aesthetic representation, post-Renaissance Harlem helped give rise to America's full-blown image culture and its definitive genre, documentary. The images made there in turn became critical to the work of black writers seeking to reinvent literary forms. Harlem Crossroads is the first book to examine their deep, sustained engagements with photographic practices. Arguing for Harlem as a crossroads between writers and the image, Sara Blair explores its power for canonical writers, whose work was profoundly responsive to the changing meanings and uses of photographs. She examines literary engagements with photography from the 1930s to the 1970s and beyond, among them the collaboration of Langston Hughes and Roy DeCarava, Richard Wright's uses of Farm Security Administration archives, James Baldwin's work with Richard Avedon, and Lorraine Hansberry's responses to civil rights images. Drawing on extensive archival work and featuring images never before published, Blair opens strikingly new views of the work of major literary figures, including Ralph Ellison's photography and its role in shaping his landmark novel Invisible Man, and Wright's uses of camera work to position himself as a modernist and postwar writer. Harlem Crossroads opens new possibilities for understanding the entangled histories of literature and the photograph, as it argues for the centrality of black writers to cultural experimentation throughout the twentieth century.
Research conducted on the Black press can be traced to the late 19th Century, yet the available literature still does not fully reflect the rich history of the hundreds of newspapers that have informed their communities since 1827, when the first Black newspaper was published. Histories of the Black press have largely provided comprehensive chronicles of events, exploring the role of the newspapers and their development. Further, these studies are limited in scope, focusing largely on a few heralded newspapers, recording their declines and growth, triumphs and challenges, and staff biographies. This study fills silences in the literature on Black press history, particularly pertaining to the newspapers in St. Louis and the role Black newspapers have played as members of interpretive communities.
Black Print Unbound explores the development of the Christian Recorder during and just after the American Civil War. As a study of the official African Methodist Episcopal Church newspaper (a periodical of national reach and scope among free African Americans), Black Print Unbound is thus atonce a massive recovery effort of a publication by African Americans for African Americans, a consideration of the nexus of African Americanist inquiry and print culture studies, and an intervention in the study of literatures of the Civil War, faith communities, and periodicals. The book pairs a longitudinal sense of the Recorder's ideological, political, and aesthetic development with the fullest account available of how the physical paper moved from composition to real, traceable subscribers. It builds from this cultural and material history to recover and analyze diverseand often unknown texts published in the Recorder including letters, poems, and a serialized novel-texts that were crucial to the development of African American literature and culture and that challenge our senses of genre, authorship, and community. In this, Black Print Unbound offers a case studyfor understanding how African Americans inserted themselves in an often-hostile American print culture in the midst of the most complex conflict the young nation had yet seen, and it thus calls for a significant rewriting of our senses of African American - and so American - literary history.

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