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Race and Respectability in an Early Black Atlantic

Race and Respectability in an Early Black Atlantic / Cassander L. Smith.
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [2024]
Baltimore, Md. : Project MUSE, 0000
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1 online resource (240 pages).
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"Cassander L. Smith's Race and Respectability in an Early Black Atlantic examines the means through which people of African descent embodied tenets of respectability as a coping strategy to navigate enslavement and racial oppression in the early Black Atlantic world. The term "respectability politics" refers to the way members of a minoritized population adopt the customs and manners of a dominant culture in order to combat negative stereotypes about their subject group and gain cultural visibility. Today respectability politics can be seen in how those within and outside Black communities police the behavior of Black celebrities, critique protest movements, or celebrate accomplishments by people of African descent who break racial barriers. To study the origins of this complicated relationship between race and respectability, Smith shows that early American literatures reveal Black communities engaging with respectability politics from the very beginning of the transatlantic slave trade. Concerns for Black African character and comportment influenced the literary production of Black Atlantic communities, particularly in the long eighteenth century. Uncovering the central importance of respectability as a theme shaping the literary development of early Black Atlantic cultures, Smith illuminates the mechanics of respectability politics in a range of texts, including poetry, letters, and life writing by Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, and expatriates on the west coast of Africa in Sierra Leone. Through these early Black texts, Race and Respectability in an Early Black Atlantic considers respectability politics as a malleable strategy that has both energized and suppressed Black cultures for centuries"-- Provided by publisher.
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Project MUSE complete collection 2023.
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Added to Catalog
November 02, 2023
"No rogue, no rascal, no thief" : respectability and "Adam Negro's tryal"
"Those who seem'd to respect me" : Phillis Wheatley at the border of respectability
(Some) Black Lives Matter : Olaudah Equiano and the social racial contract
"My poor little ill-thriven swarthy daughter" : Granville Sharp and the respectability of deportation to province of freedom
"Send me over one worthy" : reimagining respectability in Sierra Leone.
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