Item# 0195103734

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by V. P. Franklin

In Living Our Stories, Telling Our Truths V. P. Franklin reinterprets the lives and thought of twelve major black American writers and political leaders - including Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Adam Clayton Powell, as well as now lesser known but equally crucial figures, among them Alexander Crummell, who declared black Americans a "chosen people" of the Lord; James Weldon Johnson, a key member of the Harlem Renaissance; Harry Haywood, a Communist Party member who forced the party to recognize the revolutionary potential of the black working class; and reformer, journalist, and women's rights advocate Ida B. Wells-Barnett, the most famous black American woman of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. V. P. Franklin shows that autobiography occupies the central position in the African-American literary and intellectual tradition because "oftentimes personal truth was stranger than fiction." Whether they believed that African Americans were destined to "redeem the soul of America," in the words of James Baldwin, or that black people in the United States must be liberated "by any means necessary," the men and women whose life stories V. P. Franklin retells all spoke out for self-determination and independent black leadership. The struggle for freedom has been at the core of the collective experience of African Americans in the United States, and autobiographies have provided personal accounts of what freedom meant and how it could be achieved. In the century-and-a-half between the publication of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, in 1845, and that of Lorene Cary's Black Ice and Brent Staples's Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White in this decade, African Americans have used their personal experiences as a mirror to reflect the larger social and political context of black America. In bearing witness to the injustices they endure

Paperback: 464 pages