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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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George Washington Cable and the Wages of Ventriloquized Performance in New Orleans, Louisiana

George Washington Cable and the Wages of Ventriloquized Performance in New Orleans, Louisiana

Chapter:
(p.178) Chapter 4 George Washington Cable and the Wages of Ventriloquized Performance in New Orleans, Louisiana
Source:
Writing Reconstruction
Author(s):

Sharon D. Kennedy-Nolle

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621074.003.0004

This chapter discusses the work of Louisiana native George Washington Cable, whose works primarily centered on the creole identity during the Reconstruction. Delivered when the nation still felt the polarizing effects of military occupation, Cable dramatized an “occupation” black Creole identity that was caught up in social conflict. Cable was able to put the mutually constitutive categories of blackness and whiteness in tension by performing a black Creole identity that is, by definition, ethnically amalgamated. His displacement of racialized identity through ethnicity created a dual counterfeit for audiences to access pleasure and to repair sectional rifts between the North and the South through a privileged southern exoticism as his works set the stage for the critical roles that performance and performed identities would play in the Reconstruction. The chapter analyzes how Cable’s works, while illustrating “blackness,” also produced a version of whiteness that invaded, occupied, and “ventriloquized” alien “blackness.”

Keywords:   George Washington Cable, creole identity, Louisiana, Reconstruction, military occupation, black Creole, social conflict, blackness, whiteness, racialized identity

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