By Jennifer C. James
Within the first complete examine of African American warfare literature, Jennifer James analyzes fiction, poetry, autobiography, and histories concerning the significant wars waged sooner than the desegregation of the U.S. army in 1948. interpreting literature concerning the Civil conflict, the Spanish-American Wars, international conflict I, and global struggle II, James introduces a variety of infrequent and understudied texts by way of writers equivalent to Victor Daly, F. furnish Gilmore, William Gardner Smith, and Susie King Taylor. She argues that works via those in addition to canonical writers equivalent to William Wells Brown, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Gwendolyn Brooks mark a particular contribution to African American letters.
In developing African American conflict literature as a long-standing literary style in its personal correct, James additionally considers the ways that this writing, founded because it is on moments of nationwide challenge, advanced debates approximately black id and African american citizens' claims to citizenship. In a provocative overview, James argues that the very ambivalence over using violence as a political device defines African American warfare writing and creates a compelling, contradictory physique of literature that defies effortless summary.
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Additional resources for A Freedom Bought with Blood: African American War Literature from the Civil War to World War II
Are the writers pointing to an enunciatory gap, contrasting the very real oppression of black bodies with the abstract notions of freedom and democracy they voice? Or do "patriotic" and religious narratives of war provide a subterfuge, becoming another means of averting the "real" nature ofwarfare? 5. War as something other than war. African American literature produced after emancipation necessarily grapples with the legacy of slavery, not simply its lasting effect on matters racial, social, and political, but also the imprints slavery left on a tradition of black writing that had been largely abolitionist in its purposes and which sought, accordingly, to contest images of black Americans in proslavery literature.
Gilmore's soldier, the son of a "jetblack" slave father, is described as a "tall" and "active young colored man" whose "courage was never disputed" (13, 14). It is probably no coincidence that Gilmore's novel, one of the first black masculinist war novels (though certainly not the first to depict black male heroism) was set during the Spanish-CubanAmerican Wars and the wars against the Philippines. Recalling Delany's and Douglass's efforts, the novel directly contradicts Roosevelt's misrepresentation of blacks as passive, disorderly soldiers in need of white leadership.
By positioning black soldiers within a continuum of American slave revolutionaries, Brown transforms the Civil War into the greatest in a series of slave revolts, placing the black male in direct, armed confrontation with his master /monster: "an opportunity of settling with the 'ole boss' for a long score of cruelty" (157). Far from being something as removed from African American life as a conflict over "state's rights," the war instead becomes slavery's bloody finale, the inevitable conclusion to an inhumane institution prophesied by a black man with his dying breath.
A Freedom Bought with Blood: African American War Literature from the Civil War to World War II by Jennifer C. James