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The African American Roots of ModernismFrom Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance$
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James Smethurst

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834633

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807878088_smethurst

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I New Forms and Captive Knights in the Age of Jim Crow and Mechanical Reproduction

I New Forms and Captive Knights in the Age of Jim Crow and Mechanical Reproduction

(p.1) IntroductionI New Forms and Captive Knights in the Age of Jim Crow and Mechanical Reproduction
The African American Roots of Modernism

James Smethurst

University of North Carolina Press

This book endeavors to delineate some of the ways that the establishment of Jim Crow as a national system, albeit with considerable regional and local variations, and the response of African American artists and intellectuals, especially Paul Laurence Dunbar, to this profound ideological, political, economic, spatial, and cultural event deeply marked American notions of modernity—and, ultimately, modernism—for both African Americans and white Americans. By looking at some of the different strands in the development of a modern African American literature between the end of Reconstruction and the onset of the New Negro Renaissance, we can discern how some black writers came to feel a need for the creation of a distinct African American literature representing, channeling, and serving some notion of a black “people” or “nation.”

Keywords:   Jim Crow, national system, African American artists, Paul Laurence Dunbar, modernity, modernism

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