By Shirley Moody-Turner
"Before the cutting edge paintings of Zora Neale Hurston, folklorists from the Hampton Institute accrued, studied, and wrote approximately African American folklore. Like Hurston, those folklorists labored inside of but additionally past the limits of white mainstream associations. they generally referred to as into query the which means of the very folklore tasks during which they have been engaged. Shirley Moddy-Turner analyzes this output, in addition to the contributions of a disparate workforce of African American authors and students. She explores how black authors and folklorists have been lively participants--rather than passive observers--in conversations in regards to the politics of representing black folklore. analyzing literary texts, folklore records, and cultural performances, felony discourse, and political rhetoric, Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial illustration demonstrates how folklore experiences grew to become a battleground throughout which problems with racial identification and distinction have been asserted and debated on the flip of the 20 th century. The examine is framed through questions of old and carrying on with import. What position have representations of black folklore performed in developing racial id? And, how have these principles impacted the best way African americans take into consideration and creatively have interaction black traditions? Moody-Turner renders tested historic evidence in a brand new gentle and context, taking figures we notion we knew--such as Charles Chesnutt, Anna Julia Cooper, and paul Laurence Dunbar--and recasting their position in African American highbrow and cultural historical past" -- Read more...
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Extra resources for Black folklore and the politics of racial representation
In linking folk to nonAnglo-American “races,” and in identifying African Americans and Native Americans as folk—but himself as non-folk—Newell renders folklore within a racialized evolutionary power structure in which he and his cohort occupy the position of universal evolved/civilized authority, while the racialized others maintain lower positions on the evolutionary scale until they are able to shed their racially distinct (read: non-white) folklore and become “universal” (read: white). Finally, despite his admonitions against “romantic nationalism” and his promotion of a rigid scientism, Newell’s orientation toward folklore nevertheless was inﬂuenced by the anti-modern romanticism of the period.
At the same time, there was a growing consensus that legislation could do little to change the folkways, habits, social practices, and/or folk customs that inherently separated the races. In establishing a precedent for the Plessy decision, Justice Henry Billings Brown turned to Roberts v. ”67 As Rayford Logan has documented, this sentiment was echoed in the Northern press.
Promoters and reviewers emphasized that these were not shows involving entertainers or performers, but displays of natural, uninhibited black life. ”49 Black performers were able to modify these stereotypes by adding detail, nuance, and more signiﬁcantly, by creating in-group meanings among themselves and their black audiences. The stereotypes and caricatures forged by the white minstrels were too deeply ingrained and culturally useful, however, for the white audiences to discard. Therefore the black minstrels found that, far from creating satirical critiques, their performances reinforced the racial stereotypes, adding physical evidence that veriﬁed the white audience’s expectations.
Black folklore and the politics of racial representation by Shirley Moody-Turner