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A Man Was Lynched Yesterday.Fifth Avenue, New York City, c. 1938.
NAACP Collection, Library of Congress
Thomas Nast, “Emancipation.” 1865.
Right: Ida B. Wells, “Kentucky’s Crime” Richmond Planet, 1893.
Left: Nast, “The Union as it Was.” Harper’s, 1874
#8 Constructing identity as free American citizens
“One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”
lynching and injustice?
#6 The “unspeakable unspoken”
#10 The role of literary hybridity
a kind of “hybrid” form? Is this new, or is it something
we have already seen? What purpose does it serve?
#11 The American Joke
Note the ways in which Wells-Barnett calls attention to irony,
paradox, and inconsistencies in the nation.
#6 The unspeakable unspoken
#7 What is“Blackness” here?
#8 How do the characters construct their identities?
Also: think about the question of what should newly free African Americans do with the past?
“The object of my writing would not be so much the elevation of the colored people as the elevation of the whites--for I consider the unjust spirit of caste. . . a barrier to the moral progress of the American people”
#7 What does Chesnutt seem to
be saying about “Blackness”?
#8 What does the story reveal about identity
construction after emancipation?
of the past in a person’s identity?
1. EdzoieUdeze, “Demystifying Esu” The Nation (Nigeria).
2. Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes this World, 1998.
another American version of Esu
Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Frederick Douglass Narrative of the Life
Ida B. Wells “The Red Record”
Charles Chesnutt “The Wife of His Youth”
**ADD “When Malindy Sings” (916) and “Douglass” (925)
# 4 Signifying
#3 The vernacular tradition
“People are taking it for granted that [the Negro] ought not to work with his head. And it is so easy for these people among whom we are living to believe this; it flatters and satisfies their self-complacency.”
James Weldon Johnson
#2 Strategies of resistance
#5 The role of writing
#8 Identity construction
#1. Extraliterary expectations
(i.e. they were expected to do more than just write beautiful or entertaining prose…what?)
“Dignify and glorify common labor. It is at the bottom of life that we must begin, not at the top.”
(not used in class)
“This composite of thirteen scenes pertaining to African American history from 1619 to 1897, though not wholly accurate (for example, Attucks' first name was Crispus, not Christopher), provides a brief historical overview of the African American quest for full citizenship, particularly participation in the Revolutionary War and the political arena. This poster was published for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in Nashville in 1897. A picture of the "Negro Exposition Building" is on the lower, right-hand side of the poster.”
From the Library of Congress