Autobiography and Black Identity Politics: Racialization in Twentieth-Century America

Synopsis

Why has autobiography been central to African American political speech throughout the twentieth century? Kenneth Mostern illustrates the relationship between narrative and racial categories such as "colored", "Negro", "black" or "African American" in the work of writers such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Malcom X, Martin Luther King, Paul Robeson, Angela Davis and bell hooks. Mostern shows how these autobiographical narratives attempt to construct and transform the political meanings of blackness. This wide-ranging study will interest all those working in African American Studies, cultural studies and literary theory.