The years between the collapse of Reconstruction and the end of World War I mark a pivotal moment in African American cultural production. Christened the “Post-Bellum-Pre-Harlem” era by the novelist Charles Chesnutt, these years look back to the antislavery movement and forward to the artistic flowering and racial self-consciousness of the Harlem Renaissance.
Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem offers fresh perspectives on the literary and cultural achievements of African American men and women during this critically neglected, though vitally important, period of our nation's past. Using a wide range of disciplinary approaches, the sixteen scholars gathered here offer both a reappraisal and celebration of African American cultural production during these influential decades. Alongside discussions of political and artistic icons such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and James Weldon Johnson are essays revaluing figures such as the writers Paul and Alice Dunbar-Nelson, the New England painter Edward Mitchell Bannister, and Georgia-based activists Lucy Craft Laney and Emmanuel King Love.
Contributors explore an array of forms from fine art to anti-lynching drama, from sermons to ragtime and blues, and from dialect pieces and early black musical theater to serious fiction.
Contributors include: Frances Smith Foster, Carla L. Peterson, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Audrey Thomas McCluskey, Barbara Ryan, Robert M. Dowling, Barbara A. Baker, Paula Bernat Bennett, Philip J. Kowalski, Nikki L. Brown, Koritha A. Mitchell, Margaret Crumpton Winter, Rhonda Reymond, and Andrew J. Scheiber.
“ Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem presents a compelling case for viewing the years between 1877 and 1919 as a time of outstanding literary and cultural achievement for African American men and women. . . . McCaskill and Gebhard are to be commended for the thought-provoking volume that identifies convincingly and documents meticulously the origins of “modern” African American literature. Based on solid scholarship and extensive interdisciplinary research, Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem is a significant resource for scholars in the fields of African American history and literature. 8221;
-The Journal of African American History
“This is a rich portrait of a complex period that has been long neglected.”
“This is a vital reappraisal. These essays compellingly return to the often-neglected period known in African American history as 'The Nadir' to ensure that it will never again be seen as a cultural disappointment.”
-Carla Kaplan,author of Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters
“Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem is a valuable book. These fifteen essays offer a broad overview of a rich and complicated period and complement the growing body of scholarship that takes as its focus this important and previously under-appreciated era.”
- The Journal of the Society for the Study of the MultiEthnic Literature of the United States