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Writing ReconstructionRace, Gender, and Citizenship in the Postwar South$
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Sharon D. Kennedy-Nolle

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469621074

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621074.001.0001

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African American Literary Activism in a Divided District

African American Literary Activism in a Divided District

Storer College and the Pioneer Press of West Virginia

(p.123) Chapter 3 African American Literary Activism in a Divided District
Writing Reconstruction

Sharon D. Kennedy-Nolle

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the extant writing of former slaves who were among the first to achieve literacy and find a political voice in the newly created state of West Virginia through their education at Storer College. Their letters, articles, and poems published in yearbooks, the Storer Record, and in the Pioneer Press, support the growing recognition that to speak of an African American literature, it is necessary to embrace a broader sense of form and genre. These newspapers attest to the presence of a viable black community that coalesced in print culture, thereby affirming the importance of the press for black writers. The chapter also looks into Storer College, whose embattled relation with the white residents of nearby Harpers Ferry and its black student body reveals how gender, class, race, and region knotted the postwar issues of labor, property, reputation, and duty to inform the meaning of citizenship.

Keywords:   slaves, literacy, West Virginia, Storer College, Storer Record, Pioneer Press, African American literature, black community, print culture, citizenship

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