2 research outputs found

    The Conflict and Concord in Self-Representation of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth.

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    Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth as writers and speakers would consistently obfuscated permissible discourse, subverting the expectations as imposed on African Americans during nineteenth-century America. By obfuscating prevailing stereotypes, they perpetuated a new Black man- and womanhood in their portraiture, challenging pseudoscientific claims of what African Americans ought to appear like. They inverted the prevailing racial caricatures by manipulating recognized signifiers of race, class and gender in their rhetoric as they visualized, narrated and created public self-representations that became symbolic to reforming American mentality. By employing their physiognomies and rhetoric tropes, Douglass and Truth were simultaneously in conflict and concord with one another for even though they shared ideologies, advocated for same issues, their styles were widely separate from one another. Douglass was apt in emphasizing his vast knowledge of politics and history as he relied in eloquence to appease the audiences into a false sense of security before unleashing sanguinary doctrines. Truth as an illiterate woman was confident in spontaneous delivery which in its brevity and evangelical message seemingly less threatening of white supremacist and paternalist status quo. Together they created alternative iconography advocating for a change in mentality away from the kneeling image of a slave, asking to be recognized as a man/woman and brother/sister, imagining an equal creative and physical existence

    Gifted, black and under scrutiny: radicalism of Black women writers and their counter literary struggle with the FBI

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    According to the civil rights historian Kenneth O’Reilly, “there is no doubt that Hoover was a racist, an anticommunist of the highest order, and a determined foe of the civil rights movement […]” (17). What J. Edgar Hoover’s personal racist and anti-Communist opinions led to was to create one of the most powerful law enforcement agencies in history, the duties of which went far beyond investigating criminals and keeping the United States safe from foreign agitation. Hoover had a special penchant for literary agitation; especially the kind that he feared could incite rebellion within the nation against the white heteropatriarchal supremacism that he was decided upon upholding. Beyond monitoring and summarizing literatures that Hoover and his Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents deemed potentially subversive, Hoover began specifically investigating authors and their affiliations. Literature, as all media, had the power to educate and change minds, to incite and inform, to disrupt and disturb. Therefore, Hoover’s FBI developed its own counterliterary tactics to investigate, interfere with, intimidate the writers, and infiltrate the lives and career, organisations, and appearances of these authors. This counterliterary obsession together with Hoover’s other proclivity – his racism – led to him disproportionately directing his agents to investigate African American authors, their works and their respective affiliations and organisations. From 1940s onward there was a sudden uptick on especially the FBI files opened on Black women writers, as the Black woman of the twentieth century was, as Anne Spencer called it, “so involved and interesting. We are the PROBLEM – the great national game of taboo.” The focus will be on specific events and literatures where there was an increase in literary and, thus, counterliterary relationship between some of the most empowered Black women writers of the twentieth century and the intimidation, infiltration, and intensity of scrutiny by the FBI under the directorship of J. Edgar Hoover. At the core of this research is to contribute to a gap in academic research that includes the empowered counterliterary and revolutionary activism of Black women writers. The fact that the FBI had a deep interest in literature and journalism is no secret. Over the past half-century, a lot has been published in terms of literary criticism and research of and by the FBI. There is a growing need for research and criticism on the counterliterary relationship between Black writers and the FBI as it was under Hoover’s directorship. This thesis aims is to begin an interdisciplinary and intersectional discussion that will become essential component when discussing Black American literary activism
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