By Jonathan W. Gray
Publish yr note: First released January 1st 2012
The assertion, "The Civil Rights flow replaced America," although precise, has turn into anything of a cliché. Civil rights within the White Literary mind's eye seeks to figure out how, precisely, the Civil Rights stream replaced the literary probabilities of 4 iconic American writers: Robert Penn Warren, Norman Mailer, Eudora Welty, and William Styron. every one of those writers released major works sooner than the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954 and the Montgomery Bus Boycott that started in December of the subsequent year,
making it attainable to track their evolution in response to those occasions. The paintings those writers crafted according to the upheaval of the day, from Warren's Who Speaks for the Negro?, to Mailer's "The White Negro" to Welty's "Where Is the Voice Coming From?" to Styron's Confessions of Nat Turner, show a lot approximately their very own feeling within the second at the same time they give a contribution to the nationwide dialog that situated on race and democracy.
By analyzing those works heavily, grey posits the argument that those writers considerably formed discourse on civil rights because the circulation used to be happening yet did so in methods that--intentionally or not--often relied upon a thought of the relative innocence of the South with reference to racial affairs, and on a build of African american citizens as politically and/or culturally na*ve. As those writers grappled with race and the parable of southern the Aristocracy, their paintings built in ways in which have been concurrently sympathetic of, and condescending to, black highbrow notion happening whilst.
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Additional info for Civil Rights in the White Literary Imagination: Innocence by Association
Of all of the fractures the text identiﬁes, however, one stands out because it reveals the source of Warren’s continued protectiveness towards the South. Warren claims that there exists in some southerners a dichotomy between their “own social idealism and [their] anger at Yankee Phariseeism. (Oh yes, he remembers that in the days when Federal bayonets supported the black Reconstruction state governments in the South, not a single Negro held elective oﬃce in any Northern state)” (321). Although Warren imbeds this statement amongst a list of reasons for the South’s struggles with integration, this assertion recalls his argument in “The Briar Patch” that Black elected oﬃcials served as agents of northern oppression, and is too historical and speciﬁc to represent anyone’s position but his own.
It is with palpable relief that Warren encounters a scene that seems to conform to his expectations. As he continues south along 61, Warren spies the ﬁgure, suddenly in our headlight . . ), the woman with a piece of sacking or paper over her head against the drizzle now, at her bosom a bundle that must be a small child, the big children following with the same slow, mud-lifting stride in the darkness. . They will move on, at their pace. Yes, they are still here. (285, my emphasis) 22 Warren and the Limits of Historical Responsibility This tableau both comforts Warren and serves as a signpost that allows him to reorient himself in this strange new South.
Most shacks were not lighted. I wondered if it was too early in the evening. Then it was early no longer. 19 Later, the reﬁned speech of one of his Black respondents “surprises me the way my native ear used to be surprised by the speech of a Negro born and raised, say, in Akron, Ohio” (295). Warren ﬁnds these changes—the shanty left behind, the unself-conscious display of proper diction—unnerving since they ﬂy in the face of his understanding of historical circumstance and imply the possibility of increased Black agency.