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Living with LynchingAfrican American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890-1930$
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Koritha Mitchell

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036491

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036491.001.0001

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The Pimp and Coward

The Pimp and Coward

Offering Gendered Revisions

(p.175) Chapter Six The Pimp and Coward
Living with Lynching

Koritha Mitchell

University of Illinois Press

This chapter demonstrates that, as a genre, lynching drama challenges the assumption that men establish literary traditions and women revise them. Black male authors entered the genre in 1925, and they revised the conventions being developed by women. Women's plays present the home as the lynch victim, portraying its “castration” as the moment when the honorable black man is removed. However, male dramatists depict homes that seem “castrated” even when husbands, fathers, and uncles survive because they become immoral and cowardly to avoid the mob's wrath. The chapter argues that the pimp and coward emerge to mark the community conversation's acknowledgement that their perspectives matter as African Americans grapple with the contradictions of living with lynching.

Keywords:   lynching drama, pimp, coward, castration, women's plays, lynching, African Americans

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