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ENGL411: African-American Literature

Unit 3: Reconstruction to New Negro Renaissance Movement, 1865-1919   The years after the Civil War extending to the first decade of the twentieth century, were a period when the imperative of racial uplift sometimes conflicted with the artist's desire to develop as an individual.  The 1867 Reconstruction Act struck down many of the restrictions on the lives of African Americans, but the withdrawal of troops from the South in 1877 led the way for oppressive laws and practices to develop.  These issues had an impact on African American artists as they addressed the "Negro Problem:" overturning the stereotypes of the plantation myth (Charles Chesnutt); preparing to be American citizens (Booker T.Washington); instituting change through political agitation (W.E.B. Du Bois); addressing issues of color (James Weldon Johnson), and integrating the philosophy of racial uplift (Anna Julia Cooper).  

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 19 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 5 hours ☐    Subunit 3.2.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.2.2: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3: 10.5 hours ☐    Subunit 3.3.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.2: 4 hours

☐    Reading: 1.5 hours

☐    Lecture: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.3: 5 hours

☐    Reading: 2 hours

☐    Lecture: 3 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Identify the myth of the plantation tradition. - Define the color line and explain its importance in Reconstruction writings. - Explain the concept of "racial uplift" and its promotion by female authors of the Reconstruction period. - Define the terms "double consciousness" and "the talented tenth."

3.1 The Plantation Tradition   3.1.1 Reconstruction   - Reading: University of Houston’s Digital History: Eric Foner’s “America's Reconstruction” Link: University of Houston’s Digital History: Eric Foner’s “America's Reconstruction” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read “America’s Reconstruction” in its entirety; make sure to click on the arrow keys on each webpage to move through each page of the text and all 21 images.  You should dedicate approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to read this text and examine the images.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

3.1.2 The Myth of Plantation Nostalgia   - Lecture: Annenberg Foundation’s American Passages: A Literary Survey: “Episode 8: Regional Realism” Link: Annenberg Foundation’s American Passages: A Literary Survey: “Episode 8: Regional Realism” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to episode 8 “Regional Realism,” and click on the “VOD” icon to launch the video.  Please view the entire video lecture (28 minutes).  Please note that this resource also covers the topic outlined in subunit 3.1.3.  For the topic of myth of plantation nostalgia, make sure to focus on minutes 13:20-14:15 of the lecture.  To cover the topic of Charles Chestnutt and the Power of Conjure, please focus on minutes 14:30-19:15 of the video lecture.
 
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3.1.3 Charles Chesnutt and the Power of Conjure   - Reading: University of Virginia Library’s version of Charles Chesnutt’s "The Goophered Grape Vine" Link: University of Virginia Library’s version of Charles Chesnutt’s "The Goophered Grape Vine" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire text.  Chestnutt’s Uncle Julius stories resisted the persistence of the plantation myth strengthened by the popular success of white authors such as Thomas Nelson Page.  "The Goophered Grape Vine," appearing in the 1899 Conjure Stories, blurred the line between submitting to and upholding that myth and working to overturning it.  You should dedicate approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to studying this text.
 
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3.2 Racial Uplift   3.2.1 Racial Uplift Defined   - Reading: National Humanities Center: Kevin K. Gaines’ "Racial Uplift Ideology in the Era of 'The Negro Problem’” Link: National Humanities Center: Kevin K. Gaines’ "Racial Uplift Ideology in the Era of 'The Negro Problem'" (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read this entire lecture on racial uplift
ideology.  This reading should take approximately 1 hour to
complete.  

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displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.2 Booker T. Washington and the End of Slavery   - Reading: Bartleby.com: Booker T. Washington’s Up from Slavery: “Chapter III. The Struggle for an Education” (1901) Link: Bartleby.com: Booker T. Washington’s Up from Slavery:Chapter III. The Struggle for an Education” (HTML)
 
Instruction: Please read Chapter III in its entirety.  Booker T. Washington's admonition that African Americans needed to be prepared to handle their freedom, though roundly rejected by later authors as too passive, is depicted in wonderful detail in Up from Slavery.  You should dedicate approximately 3 hours to reading and studying this text.
 
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  • Reading: National Humanities Center: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s "The New Negro and the Black Image: From Booker T. Washington to Alain Locke” Link: National Humanities Center: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s "The New Negro and the Black Image: From Booker T. Washington to Alain Locke" (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read the entire article.  You should spend approximately 1 hour reading this text.
     
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3.3 Color Line   3.3.1 Double Consciousness Defined   - Reading: University of Virginia’s American Studies: Dickinson D. Bruce, Jr.’s “W.E.B. Du Bois and the Idea of the Double Consciousness” Link: University of Virginia’s American Studies: Dickinson D. Bruce, Jr.’s “W.E.B. Du Bois and the Idea of the Double Consciousness” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire text to learn about double consciousness.  This reading should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
 
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3.3.2 W.E.B. Du Bois and the Talented Tenth   - Reading: Kim Pearson’s "Of the Coming of W.E.B Du Bois” Link: Kim Pearson’s "Of the Coming of W.E.B Du Bois" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire lecture, "Of the Coming of W. W.E.B Du Bois."  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
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  • Reading: Bartleby.com: W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk: “Chapter VI. The Training of Black Men” Link: Bartleby.com: W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk:Chapter VI. The Training of Black Men” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read “Chapter VI” in its entirety.  Du Bois examines the problems of the color line and double consciousness in the struggle to integrate the African American identity with that of American identity in The Souls of Black Folk, his 1903 collection of essays.  This reading should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
     
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  • Reading: LibriVox: W.E.B Du Bois’s “The Souls of Black Folk” Link: LibriVox: W.E.B Du Bois’s “The Souls of Black Folk” (MP3)
     
    Instructions: Download the files for each chapter. Then, listen to the reading of “The Souls of Black Folk.” On this page, you will also find a link to the Project Guttenberg e-book, which will allow you to read the book online.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

3.3.3 Anna Julia and Gendered Racial Uplift   - Reading: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Anna Julia Cooper’s A Voice from the South: "Womanhood a Vital Element in the Regeneration and Progress of a Race" Link: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Anna Julia Cooper’s A Voice from the South: "Womanhood a Vital Element in the Regeneration and Progress of a Race" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire section titled “Womanhood a Vital Element in the Regeneration and Progress of a Race” (pages 9-47).  Cooper, a long-time educator, explored the importance of women in the development of racial uplift in "Womanhood" (1892).  As different as these Booker T. Washington, W.E.B Du Bois, and Anna Julia Cooper were, they agreed that education was an important key to the improvement of the lives of African Americans.  You should spend approximately 2 hours reading and studying this text.
 
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  • Reading: Howard University Archives: Shirley Wilson Logan’s “’Can Woman Do This Work?’ The Discourse of Racial Uplift” Link: Howard University Archives: Shirley Wilson Logan’s "'Can Woman Do This Work?' The Discourse of Racial Uplift"(HTML)
     
    Instructions: Select Logan's article from the Highlights box on the Howard University Archives website.  Make sure to read the entire article (31 pages) by clicking on ‘next page’ at the bottom of each webpage.  You should spend approximately 3 hours reading and studying this text.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.