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History as Birthmark

Gayl Jones’s Corregidora
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Abstract

The 1960s witnessed a renewed interest in slave narratives and African American history and culture, and the development of an aesthetics that was politically engaged, highlighted a need for social and economic reform, and moreover was distinct and separate from white western traditions. The Black Arts movement, to use Larry Neal’s words, “propose[d] a separate symbolism, mythology, critique, and iconology.”1 This move toward a new black aesthetics, the expression of which was an art that reflected a sense of self-determination, meant that the “Black artist,” as the poet Etheridge Knight states, had to “create new forms and new values, sing new songs (or purify old ones); and along with other black authorities, he must create a new history, new symbols, myths and legends (and purify old ones by fire).”2 This concept of a need for cultural “purification” in order to achieve an unadulterated form of African American expression was also articulated by other aestheticians of the movement. Addison Gayle Jr. states that the “Black Aesthetic… is corrective—a means of helping black people out of the polluted mainstream Americanism.”3 In an essay titled “Towards a Black Aesthetic,” Hoyt Fuller seems to take this idea a step further. For Fuller the break with white culture also meant that the black artist had to disentangle himself from “those who would submit to subjection without struggle [and] deserve to be enslaved.

Keywords

Oral Tradition Woman Writer Continuous Sound Private Memory African American History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Ana Nunes 2011

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