Project Title

Literary Genres as Civil Rights Catalysts

Presenters

Sydni ZackeryFollow

Academic department under which the project should be listed

History & Philosophy

Faculty Sponsor Name

Tamara Livingston

Project Type

Event

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Literary Genres as Civil Rights Catalyst

When one thinks of the Civil Rights Movement, they think about protests, sit-ins and boycotts. Although physical protests were important, I argue that published literary genres such as sermons, short stories and poetry were critically important in broadening awareness of the Civil Rights Movement. It is known that even during the times of slavery African Americans used a form of writing, known as protest writing, to fight for the abolishment of slavery up to what is generalized as the Civil Rights era. In this project I will compare first editions of three historic publications by African Americans [1746-1963] to show the importance and effect of different literary genres in the struggle for the civil rights. In my analysis of the selected works by Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. I consider how these publications served as an expressive outlet for the writers and a platform for protest. I will also consider what these first editions can tell us about how these authors were published and for whom the works were intended. Finally, I discuss how first editions can serve as primary sources for a better understanding of the Civil Rights Movement.

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Literary Genres as Civil Rights Catalysts

Literary Genres as Civil Rights Catalyst

When one thinks of the Civil Rights Movement, they think about protests, sit-ins and boycotts. Although physical protests were important, I argue that published literary genres such as sermons, short stories and poetry were critically important in broadening awareness of the Civil Rights Movement. It is known that even during the times of slavery African Americans used a form of writing, known as protest writing, to fight for the abolishment of slavery up to what is generalized as the Civil Rights era. In this project I will compare first editions of three historic publications by African Americans [1746-1963] to show the importance and effect of different literary genres in the struggle for the civil rights. In my analysis of the selected works by Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. I consider how these publications served as an expressive outlet for the writers and a platform for protest. I will also consider what these first editions can tell us about how these authors were published and for whom the works were intended. Finally, I discuss how first editions can serve as primary sources for a better understanding of the Civil Rights Movement.