The Role Of African Americans In American Literature

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“And as for all this talk about the militia staying here to keep the darkies from rising—why it's the silliest thing I ever heard of. Why should our people rise! It's just a good excuse of cowards." ( Gone With The Wind). This quote largely defines the mindset of several white Southerners who supported the "Lost Cause" Movement post Civil War (Janney). In Caroline E. Janney's article discussing the "Lost Cause", she explains how the movement sought to rebrand slavery by means of literature, such as Gone with the Wind, that sentimentalized the stereotyped "happy slave, the "Mammy" or "Uncle Tom" role of African Americans (Janney). Literature often portrayed African Americans slaves in a way that presented them as "faithful slaves," loyal to their masters and the Confederate cause “who could not handle the many “responsibilities of freedom” (Janney). Similarly, Sterling A. Brown's article on "Negro Character as Seen by White Authors" provides a dated explanation of the "contented slave" prevalent throughout American Literature (Brown 180). Furthermore, Ray Von Robertson and Cassandra Chaney article, “I Know it [Racism] Still Exists Here:” African American Males at a Predominantly White Institution” gives modern examples of stereotypes black males tend to be complacent with.

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