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The Black box : writing the race  Cover Image Book Book

The Black box : writing the race / Henry Louis Gates, Jr.


"A magnificent, foundational reckoning with how Black Americans have used the written word to define and redefine themselves, in resistance to the lies of racism and often in heated disagreement with each other, over the course of the country's history. Distilled over many years from Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s legendary Harvard introductory course in African American Studies, The Black Box: Writing the Race, is the story of Black self-definition in America through the prism of the writers who have led the way. From Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, to Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison--these writers used words to create a livable world--a "home"--for Black people destined to live out their lives in a bitterly racist society. It is a book grounded in the beautiful irony that a community formed legally and conceptually by its oppressors to justify brutal sub-human bondage, transformed itself through the word into a community whose foundational definition was based on overcoming one of history's most pernicious lies. This collective act of resistance and transcendence is at the heart of its self-definition as a "community." Out of that contested ground has flowered a resilient, creative, powerful, diverse culture formed by people who have often disagreed markedly about what it means to be "Black," and about how best to shape a usable past out of the materials at hand to call into being a more just and equitable future. This is the epic story of how, through essays and speeches, novels, plays, and poems, a long line of creative thinkers has unveiled the contours of--and resisted confinement in--the "black box" inside which this "nation within a nation" has been assigned, willy nilly, from the nation's founding through to today. This is a book that records the compelling saga of the creation of a people"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780593299784
  • ISBN: 0593299787
  • Physical Description: xxxvii, 262 pages ; 22 cm
  • Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2024.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 233-252) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Preface: The black box -- Race, reason, and writing -- What's in a name? -- Who's your daddy? : Frederick Douglass and the politics of self-representation -- Who's your mama? : the politics of disrespectability -- The "true art of a race's past" : art, propaganda, and the new negro -- Modernism and its discontents : Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright play the dozens -- Sellouts vs. race men : on the concept of passing -- Conclusion: Policing the color line.
Subject: African Americans > Race identity > History.
African Americans > Intellectual life > History.
African Americans in literature.
African Americans > Intellectual life.
Noirs américains > Identité ethnique > Histoire.
Noirs américains > Vie intellectuelle.
Noirs américains dans la littérature.
HISTORY / United States / General.
African Americans in literature.
African Americans > Intellectual life.
African Americans > Race identity.
Race relations.
African Americans > Race identity.
African Americans > Intellectual life.
African Americans in literature.
United States > Race relations > History.
États-Unis > Relations raciales > Histoire.
United States.
United States > Race relations.
Genre: Informational works.
Informational works.
Documents d'information.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library System. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Public Library.


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Homer Public Library 908.996 GAT (Text) 000174089 New Books Available -

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