Race, Region, & Reclamation
This chapter is divided into two sections. The first looks at important books such as From Slavery to Freedom (1947) by John Hope Franklin, which reclaimed both the public and intellectual space of the region. It discusses the impact of the 1896 “separate but equal” decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. It was after the 1960s that authors such as Alice Walker, Margaret Walker Alexander, and Ernest Gaines wrote seminal books claiming a region of their own. In a later book following the controversy surrounding The Color Purple, Walker wrote The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult (1996) which addresses the complexities of defining space and belonging to a particular location. In the context of spatial identity, works of other authors such as Alex Haley, Toni Morrison, Patricia J. Williams, and Carol Stack are also discussed here. The second section shows how the work of poet Natasha Trethewey reimagines and reclaims the South of the African American writers of the 1970s and 1980s.
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