African American Review

Founded in 1967, the African American Review is a quarterly journal published by St. Louis University, located in St. Louis, Mo. Its subject matter is literature and black publications. Its managing editor is Aileen Keenan.

Articles from Vol. 42, No. 3-4, Fall-Winter

A Negro's Chance: Ontological Luck in the Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
Just why exactly does the narrator at the end of James Weldon Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man feel that he has been a coward, a deserter 53) in having decided finally to pass for white? From a certain perspective, the ex-colored man's...
An Interview with Edward P. Jones
Edward P. Jones is a writer of the kind of fiction one might have thought was going out of style: readable, absorbing, and exquisitely literary. After a startling publishing debut with Lost in the City, stories drawn from his native Washington, D. C.,...
Black Anxiety about Immigration and Jessie Fauset's "The Sleeper Wakes"
The cover story of the July/August 2006 issue of The Crisis is "Immigration: Should African Americans Be Worried? 5 Black Leaders Weigh In." The opinions vary. Constance Rice, co-director of a Los Angeles equity organization concerned with low-income...
Black Church, Black Patriarchy, and the "Brilliant Queer": Competing Masculinities in Langston Hughes's "Blessed Assurance"
For the poet, politics in any country in the world had better be disguised as poetry. Politics can be the graveyard of the poet.... Each human being must live within his time, with and for his people, and within the boundaries of his country. Therefore,...
Blues in Stereo: The Texts of Langston Hughes in Jazz Music
The title of this is drawn from essay a section of Langston Hughes's long experimental poem ASK YOUR MAMA: 12 MOODS FOR JAZZ, published in 1961 as a stand-alone volume. The entire work is emblematic of Hughes's lifelong engagement with African American...
Catching Holy Ghosts: The Diverse Manifestations of Black Persona Poetry
You can refer to Amiri Baraka as a poet if you like. But truth be told, he's a conjure-man of sorts. His inclinations for black magic are quite apparent in his live performances. What are billed as poetry readings actually become opportunities for Baraka...
Demilitarizing Disease: Ambivalent Warfare and Audre Lorde's "The Cancer Journals"
"For those of us who write, it is necessary to scrutinize not only the truth of what we speak, but the truth of that language by which we speak it."--Audre Lorde, "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action" (Sister Outsider 43) "But the...
Don't Forget the Triple Front!: Some Historical and Representational Dimensions of the Black Arts Movement in Academia
In "Performance Studies: Interventions and Radical Research," Dwight Conquergood asserts that the "textual turn" in the humanities and social sciences has enabled the continuing marginalization of certain kinds of experiences and certain ways of knowing...
Ellison's Hemingways
And when I read the early Hemingway I seem to be in the presence of a Huckleberry Finn who, instead of identifying himself with humanity and attempting to steal Jim free, chose to write the letter which sent him back into slavery.--Ralph Ellison (1946)...
"Everything about Her Had Two Sides to It": The Foreigner's Home in Toni Morrison's "Paradise"
Toni Morrison knew in 2005 that she would soon find yet another way of using her art to cross continents and contents. The writer who presents Reverend Misner's sudden decision to stay with Ruby not as straightforward defeat but as the circular triumph...
Forgotten Manuscripts: "Blues for Emmett Till": The Earliest Extant Song about the Murder of Emmett Till
The brutal murder of Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi on August 28, 1955 and the heinous acquittal of his killers, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam, on September 24 ignited a quick and enduring literary response from the African American, as well as white,...
Forgotten Manuscripts: William Jay Greenly's Antebellum Temperance Drama
The October 1858 Repository of Religion and Literature proudly announced that Another book is out, and that by a colored man--by an old friend, a useful and energetic man" (115). That book, excerpted below and authored by William Jay Greenly of New Albany,...
Harriet Jacobs and the "Dear Old Flag"
In its August 20, 1864 issue, the Anglo-African, a newspaper whose correspondents tracked events in African American communities and black regiments in the South, carried a report on ceremonies held on August First in Alexandria, a Union-controlled Virginia...
Imagining Other Worlds: Race, Gender, and the "Power Line" in Edward P. Jones's "The Known World"
Moses was the first slave Henry Townsend had bought: $325 and a handshake from William Robbins, a white man. It took Moses more than two weeks to come to understand that someone wasn't fiddling with him and that indeed a black man, two shades darker...
Looking beyond Lucasta: The Black Dramas of the American Negro Theatre
A notable irony of African American theater history of the 1940s is that the decade's most influential black ensemble, the American Negro Theatre (ANT), had its greatest impact with their 1944 production of Anna Lucasta: a drama credited to a white playwright...
Not Only War Is Hell: World War I and African American Lynching Narratives
When Wilbur Little, an African American soldier, returned to Blakely, Georgia from service in World War I, a group of white men met him at the train station and forced him to strip off his uniform. A few days later he defied their warning not to wear...
Pauline Hopkins and the End of Incest
The fundamental problem in Pauline Hopkins's novel Of One Blood (1902-03) is the problem of incest. Incest is so critical to the novel s themes, structure, and political purposes that Of One Blood should be considered as a singularly notable if not pioneering...
Playing Dead: Harriet Jacobs's Survival Strategy in "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl"
Though much has been written about Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl since its twentieth-century re-introduction in print, relatively little critical attention has been given to its author's pervasively morbid tone, which is due...
The New Negro Flaneuse in Nella Larsen's "Quicksand"
The story began long ago ... it is old. Older than my body, my mother's, my grandmother's.... For years we have been passing it on, so that our daughters and granddaughters may continue to pass it on. The story never stops beginning or ending.... The...
The Specter of Conspiracy in Martin Delany's "Blake"
With his serialized novel Blake (1859-62), Martin Robison Delany carried the message of militant revolution into a discourse dominated by the often more temperate and sentimental approaches favored by his contemporaries Frederick Douglass and Harriet...
Towards an Aesthetic of Transgression: Ann Allen Shockley's "Loving Her" and the Politics of Same-Gender Loving
[W]e know more about the elision of sexuality by black women than we do about the possible varieties of expression of sexual desire. Thus what we have is a very narrow view of black women's sexuality.--Evelynn Hammonds The differences made by race in...
Whiting Up and Blacking Out: White Privilege, Race, and "White Chicks"
Hollywood spreads the fictions of whiteness around the world.--Hernan Vera and Andrew M. Gordon As long as race is something only applied to non-white peoples, as long as white people are not racially seen and named, they/we function as a human norm....
Women's Spiritual Geographies of the African Diaspora: Paule Marshall's "Praisesong for the Widow"
Paul Gilroy's monumental 1993 work The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness has shaped our discussions about diasporic identity for more than a decade, despite the fact that many have found reason to critique it. I wish herein to question...
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