Connecting Times: The Sixties in Afro-American Fiction

Connecting Times: The Sixties in Afro-American Fiction

Connecting Times: The Sixties in Afro-American Fiction

Connecting Times: The Sixties in Afro-American Fiction

Excerpt

The war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, and the black power movement are key events that define the period from 1960 to 1973. The beginning date for the era I designate as the "sixties" is chosen simply because the decade began in 1960. I chose to end the era in 1973 because the war in Vietnam formally ended that year. Additionally, the reelection of President Richard Nixon in 1972 over his liberal opponent, George McGovern, affirmed a shift from the liberalism of the sixties to a new conservatism. Although Watergate was Nixon's undoing, the liberalism associated with the sixties continued to decline. In the thirteen-year period 1960-73 many of America's promises of equality were tested by the three events that structure this study--black involvement in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, and the black power movement.

My interest in this period is in discovering and analyzing how Afro-Americans who were involved in Vietnam or the civil rights or black power movements made sense of their lives or failed to do so when the goals they struggled for were not achieved. This analysis looks at the movement from historical illiteracy to historical literacy, the achievement of which is obtained when individuals find precedents in African or Afro-American history that can help them resolve problems without distorting their personalities. Additionally, this study looks at the strategies individuals used to adjust their lives after the failure of their dreams.

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