Download e-book for kindle: Black folklore and the politics of racial representation by Shirley Moody-Turner

By Shirley Moody-Turner

"Before the cutting edge paintings of Zora Neale Hurston, folklorists from the Hampton Institute gathered, studied, and wrote approximately African American folklore. Like Hurston, those folklorists labored inside of but in addition past the limits of white mainstream associations. they typically known as into query the which means of the very folklore tasks during which they have been engaged. Shirley Moddy-Turner analyzes this output, in addition to the  Read more...

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In a journal purportedly devoted to the objective and scientific study of folklore, Newell saw fit to publish Fortier’s submission containing so many assumptions sustaining the post-Reconstruction segregationist platform. Was this an oversight, or were the ideas that Fortier advanced, linking representations of folklore to the politics of the Plantation Tradition, so pervasive that they were published, evidently uncontested, in a journal devoted to the scientific study of Negro folklore? In a society fraught with racial tensions, it would be difficult to overestimate the impact of the popular representations of the black folk, coupled Folklore and the Birth of Jim Crow 41 with the intellectual and “scientific” assessments of black folklore, on turnof-the-century racial politics.

Harvard Theater Collection, Harvard University. basis of demeaning stereotypes, as Tolls contends, one thing is certain: early blackface performances played an integral role in forming the popular perceptions of the black folk. Rice’s white contemporaries, for example, did not see him as an originator at all but lauded him as one skilled at impersonating the gestures and language of the black folk. 32 Folklore and the Birth of Jim Crow A London reviewer explained, “We will not say that we like Mr.

Minstrels in blackface would turn the topics of Emancipation, suffrage, and education into comic routines, at once undermining the seriousness of the issue being satirized while also insinuating blacks’ inability to participate in serious political discussion. Minstrel shows were interspersed with pithy exchanges between actors, dialect-infused speeches, and boisterous song and dance. Many shows ended in “plantation extravaganzas,” in which the plantation was pre- 34 Folklore and the Birth of Jim Crow sented as idyllic and blacks as contented and servile.

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