The new Negro Readings on race, representation, and African American culture, 1892-1938

Book - 2007

When African American intellectuals announced the birth of the "New Negro" around the turn of the twentieth century, they were attempting through a bold act of renaming to change the way blacks were depicted and perceived in America. By challenging stereotypes of the Old Negro, and declaring that the New Negro was capable of high achievement, black writers tried to revolutionize how whites viewed blacks--and how blacks viewed themselves. Nothing less than a strategy to re-create the public face of "the race," the New Negro became a dominant figure of racial uplift between Reconstruction and World War II, as well as a central idea of the Harlem, or New Negro, Renaissance. Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Gene Andrew ...Jarrett, The New Negro collects more than one hundred canonical and lesser-known essays published between 1892 and 1938 that examine the issues of race and representation in African American culture. These readings--by writers including W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Alain Locke, Carl Van Vechten, Zora Neale Hurston, and Richard Wright--discuss the trope of the New Negro and the milieu in which this figure existed from almost every conceivable angle. Political essays are joined by essays on African American fiction, poetry, drama, music, painting, and sculpture. More than fascinating historical documents, these essays address the way African American identity and history are still understood today. -- Publishers description.

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  • NOTE: For essays originally published without thematic titles, we have provided them in brackets
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction Gates and Jarrett
  • The Trope of a New Negro
  • New Negro Politics
  • New Negro Uplift
  • Race, Representation, and African American Culture
  • Notes
  • Chapter I. The New Negro
  • "The New Negro"
  • "An Appeal to the King"
  • "Afro-American Education"
  • "Heroes and Martyrs"
  • "The Club Movement among Colored Women of America"
  • "The Intellectual Progress of the Colored Women of the United States since the Emancipation Proclamation"
  • "Rough Sketches: A Study of the Features of the New Negro Woman"
  • "Rough Sketches: The New Negro Man"
  • "An Ostracised Race in Ferment: The Conflict of Negro Parties and Negro Leaders Over Methods of Dealing with Their Own Problem"
  • "The New Negro"
  • "Returning Soldiers"
  • "The New Negro and the U.N.I.A."
  • As to "`The New Negro'"
  • "The New Negro"
  • "The New Politics"
  • "Education and the Race"
  • "The New Negro"
  • "Sterling Brown: The New Negro Folk-Poet"
  • "The New Negro Hokum"
  • "Who Is the New Negro, and Why?"
  • "The New Negro as Revealed in His Poetry"
  • "La Bourgeoisie Noire"
  • "The New Negro in Paris"
  • "The Rise of the Black Internationale"
  • Chapter II. How Should Art Portray the Negro?
  • "One Phase of American Literature"
  • ["Negro in Literature"]
  • "The Negro in Books"
  • "The Negro in Literature"
  • "The Negro in Art: How Shall He Be Portrayed"The CrisisSymposium
  • "Some Aspects of the Negro Interpreted in Contemporary American and European Literature"
  • "The Negro in Recent American Literature"
  • Chapter III. The Renaissance
  • "The Younger Literary Movement"
  • "Negro Youth Speaks"
  • "Uncle Tom's Mansion"
  • "The Aframerican: New Style"
  • "The Negro Renaissance"
  • "The Negro Renaissance"
  • "The Negro Literary Renaissance"
  • "The Negro'Renaissance'"
  • "The Negro Renaissance"
  • "Our Negro'Intellectuals'"
  • "For a Negro Magazine"
  • Chapter IV. Art or Propaganda?
  • "Art and Propaganda"
  • "Propaganda in the Theatre"
  • "Criteria of Negro Art"
  • "Art or Propaganda?"
  • "Propaganda--or Poetry?"
  • "Blueprint for Negro Writing"
  • Chapter V. Literature: History and Theory
  • "Afro-American Women and Their Work"
  • "The Value of Race Literature"
  • "The Writing of a Novel"
  • "The Negro in Literature and Art"
  • "Negro Literature for Negro Pupils"
  • "Negro Race Consciousness as Reflected in Race Literature"
  • "Colored Authors and Their Contributions to the World's Literature"
  • "A Point of View (AnOpportunityDinner Reaction)"
  • "The Negro Digs Up His Past"
  • "A Note on the Sociology of Negro Literature"
  • "Negro Art, Past a
Review by Choice Review

Recent years have seen an explosion of writings on the so-called new Negro--e.g., Barbara Foley's outstanding Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro (CH, Jun'04, 41-6102), Martha Jane Nadell's Enter the New Negroes (CH, Mar'05, 42-3909), and Caroline Goeser's Picturing the New Negro (CH, Sep'07, 45-0086). Now Gates (Harvard, and the dean of African American cultural criticism) and Jarrett (Boston Univ.) lend their considerable voices to the discussion. Including an excellent introduction that situates the debate, this anthology collects some 100 essays on the trope of the new Negro between 1892 and 1938, years that broadly encompass the period known as the Harlem Renaissance. One finds here the expected voices--W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Alain Locke--but also such less-familiar figures as Brenda Ray Moryck and Fannie Barrier Williams, and therein lies the real joy of the anthology. The book covers not only literature but also music, theater, and the fine arts and convincingly links them with social and political happenings of the period. Although some omissions are curious (where, for example, are Langston Hughes and Marxists like Cyril Briggs?), overall this is a masterful piece of work. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. L. J. Parascandola Long Island University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

These readings, edited by professors Gates and Jarrett, examine the transition of blacks from colored to Negro between Reconstruction and World War II, with notables like Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Anna Julia Cooper, and Zora Neale Hurston reflecting on such themes as education, literature, art, poetry, music, and much more. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.