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Black Cultural Production after Civil Rights$
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Robert J. Patterson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042775

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042775.001.0001

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Freedom Now

Freedom Now

Black Power and the Literature of Slavery

(p.29) Chapter 1 Freedom Now
Black Cultural Production after Civil Rights

Madhu Dubey

University of Illinois Press

This essay examines representations of slavery produced during the peak of the Black Power movement, across a range of fields, including historiography, psychology, political analysis, theater, fiction, popular film, and literary and cultural criticism. Focusing on a cohesive body of work informed by the Black Arts Movement (by writers such as Amiri Baraka, Ronald Fair, Blyden Jackson, John Oliver Killens, Loften Mitchell, Joseph Walker, and John A. Williams) that is largely missing from the canon of post-civil rights literature about slavery, the essay argues that the formal innovations of these literary texts, such as speculative devices of temporal simultaneity and depersonalized modes of characterization, were directly sparked by Black Power discourses of psychological, political, and historical transformation.

Keywords:   black Power, literature of slavery, post civil rights, black Arts Movement, speculative fiction

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