Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro

Barbara Foley

Published by University of Illinois Press, 2003
ISBN 10: 0252028465 / ISBN 13: 9780252028465
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Synopsis: With the New Negro movement and the Harlem Renaissance, the 1920s was a landmark decade in African American political and cultural history, characterized by an upsurge in racial awareness and artistic creativity. In Spectres of 1919 Barbara Foley traces the origins of this revolutionary era to the turbulent year 1919, identifying the events and trends in American society that spurred the black community to action and examining the forms that action took as it evolved.

Unlike prior studies of the Harlem Renaissance, which see 1919 as significant mostly because of the geographic migrations of blacks to the North, Spectres of 1919 looks at that year as the political crucible in which the radicalism of the 1920s was forged.

World War I and the Russian Revolution profoundly reshaped the American social landscape, with progressive reforms first halted and then reversed in the name of anti-Bolshevism. Dissent was stifled as labor activists and minority groups came under intense attack. Foley shows that African Americans had a significant relationship with the organized Left and that the New Negro movement's radical politics of race was also the politics of class.

Spectres of 1919 analyzes how the highly politicized New Negro movement gave way to the culturalism of the Harlem Renaissance, focusing on the black community's attempts to navigate between U.S. (or "bad") nationalism and self-determinationist (or "good") nationalism.

Spectres of 1919 draws from a wealth of primary sources, taking a bold new approach to the origins of African American radicalism and adding nuance and complexity to the understanding of a fascinating and vibrant era.

About the Author: Barbara Foley is a professor of English at Rutgers University and has written extensively on twentieth-century literary radicalism.

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Title: Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the ...
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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Foley, Barbara
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