African American Literature

Sweetness | The New Yorker

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It’s not my fault. So you can’t blame me. I didn’t do it and have no idea how it happened. It didn’t take more than an hour after they pulled her out from between my legs for me to realize something was wrong. Really wrong. She was so black she scared me. Midnight black, Sudanese black. I’m light-skinned, with good […]
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The Color Fetish | The New Yorker

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Of constant fascination for me are the ways in which literature employs skin color to reveal character or drive narrative—especially if the fictional main character is white (which is almost always the case). Whether it is the horror of one drop of the mystical “black” blood, or signs of innate white superiority, or of deranged and excessive sexual power, the […]
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Biography of Gwendolyn Brooks, the People’s Poet | ThoughtCo

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Jeffrey Somers, ThoughtCo Gwendolynn Brooks. Bettmann / Getty Images. Featured Image n many ways, Gwendolyn Brooks embodies the black American experience of the 20th century. Born into a family that moved to Chicago as part of the Great Migration of blacks to the north of the country, she made her way through school during the Great Depression and pursued a […]
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Ta-Nehisi Coates On Magic, Memory And The Underground Railroad | NPR

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FacebookTwitterMailGrowing up in Maryland, author Ta-Nehisi Coates was enthralled by stories of Harriet Tubman, the 19th century abolitionist who operated the Underground Railroad on the state’s Eastern Shore. He read about Tubman’s efforts to lead enslaved people to freedom, and was struck by the surreal qualities of her story. “It just seemed wild,” he says. “Who is this person who […]
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BANNED: The Bluest Eye| PBS

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FROM THE COLLECTION: THE LIBRARY, PBS The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison’s first novel, was published in 1970. Set in Lorain, Ohio — where Morrison herself was born — the book tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, an eleven-year-old African American girl who is convinced that she is ugly, and yearns to have lighter skin and blue eyes. This, she believes, […]
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