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Neo-PassingPerforming Identity after Jim Crow$
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Mollie Godfrey and Vershawn Ashanti Young

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041587

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041587.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Passing at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century

Passing at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century

(p.43) Introduction Passing at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century

Allyson Hobbs

University of Illinois Press

Has passing “passed out” in the twenty-first century? Or has it taken new forms? The introduction to part 1 considers the elasticity of the phenomenon of passing. Beginning with the story of Lieutenant William J. French, who passed as white until it was discovered after his suicide in 1932 that he was black, to new possibilities in race relations that opened in the aftermath of World War II, to the beginning of the twenty-first century when Americans began to recognize and accept mixed-race identities, this essay shows how passing adapts to the specific conditions of various time periods. New histories of passing show that the old and the new have much in common. Most important, these histories remind us of the paramount importance of race in American life.

Keywords:   race, mixed race, hybridity, families, secrets, black press, Jean Toomer, census, World War II, Civil Rights Movement

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