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From the publication of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave in 1845 to Lorene Cary's Black Ice and Brent Staples's Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White in the 1990s, the autobiography has been the most important literary genre in the African-American intellectual tradition. Whether used to clarify the nature of the relationship between ideology and personal experience or simply because "oftentimes personal truth was stranger than fiction," the autobiography fulfilled the need to define the individual "black self" to a society that denied the existence of black reality. In Living Our Stories, Telling Our Truths, V.P. Franklin provides the first comprehensive examination of African-American intellectual history in over twenty-five years, presenting original interpretations of the lives and thought of twelve major black American writers and political leaders who played a central role in this powerful literary genre.
Focusing on the autobiographical works of such prominent figures as Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Malcolm X, Gwendolyn Brooks, and James Baldwin, as well as lesser known but equally crucial figures including Alexander Crummell, who declared black Americans a "chosen people" of the Lord, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett, the most famous black American woman at the turn of the century, Franklin shows that the need to tell the truth to authority, to document the original cultural contributions of rural and urban blacks, and to defend the interests of the black working class has always been a principal preoccupation of African-American intellectuals. The particular areas of the "race problem" that these individuals chose to focus on, however, were as varied as the times in which they wrote: from James Weldon Johnson's commitment to documenting the significant artistic and cultural contributions of African-Americans and James Baldwin's view that African-Americans were destined "to redeem the soul of America" to Malcolm X's rejection of integrationist doctrines and Harry Haywood's determination that the leadership of the Communist Party recognize the revolutionary potential of the black working class. And through it all, the objectives are strikingly similar--self-determination, "race vindication," and the struggle for freedom have all been at the core of the collective experience of African Americans in the United States. Given the negative evaluations of black culture and community coming from the larger white-dominated society, African-American intellectuals used their autobiographies to tell the truth about the nature of the black experience in this society and throughout the world.
Providing personal accounts of what freedom meant and how it could be achieved, the autobiography allowed African-American intellectuals to use their personal experience as a mirror to reflect the larger social and political context for black America. A major contribution to American history, Living Our Stories, Telling Our Truths acknowledges this rich tradition and makes it clear that these works provide a vital intellectual legacy for African-Americans as they enter the twenty-first century.
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From Publishers Weekly:
V.P. Franklin is Professor of History at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He co-editor of New Perspectives on Black Educational History and author of The Education of Black Philadelphia and Black Self-Determination.
"The autobiography has been the most important literary genre in the African-American intellectual tradition," declares Franklin, who teaches history and political science at Drexel University. His treatment of works by 12 mostly prominent authors emphasizes historical importance over literary analysis. He offers contextual summaries of the work and roles of people like reformer Ida B. Wells-Barnett, who fought lynching, novelist James Weldon Johnson, who emphasized the worth of black folk traditions and novelist James Baldwin, whose confessional works presaged a new crop of intimate memoirs in the 1960s and '70s. Two chapters offer useful comparisons of novelists Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston, and poets Gwendolyn Brooks and Amiri Baraka. Franklin concludes, curiously, with a chapter on Adam Clayton Powell, whose 1941 election to Congress represented "an alternative model for black political activity." Not only is that model in question, but numerous important autobiographies have been published since Powell's 1971 Adam by Adam. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 1996. Paperback. Condition: New. BRAND NEW, Perfect Shape, No Black Remainder Mark,Fast Shipping With Online Tracking, International Orders shipped Global Priority Air Mail, All orders handled with care and shipped promptly in secure packaging, we ship Mon-Sat and send shipment confirmation emails. Our customer service is friendly, we answer emails fast, accept returns and work hard to deliver 100% Customer Satisfaction!. Seller Inventory # 9038856
Book Description Oxford University Press, 1996. Paperback. Condition: New. BRAND NEW, Perfect Shape, No Remainder Mark,Fast Shipping With Online Tracking, International Orders shipped Global Priority Air Mail, All orders handled with care and shipped promptly in secure packaging, we ship Mon-Sat and send shipment confirmation emails. Our customer service is friendly, we answer emails fast, accept returns and work hard to deliver 100% Customer Satisfaction!. Seller Inventory # 9040292
Book Description Oxford University Press, 1996. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110195103734
Book Description Oxford University Press, 1996. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0195103734