By Richard H. King
A examine of a massive cultural stream, this article indicates how Southern writers of 1930 to 1955 attempted to return to phrases with Southern culture. It discusses the ensuing physique of important literature - fiction, poetry, memoirs and historic writing.
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Additional info for A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the American South, 1930-1955
His central concern in this monograph was with Negro "progress," that is, how blacks could be accommodated in the post-slavery South. Odum dissected the black character and found it woefully lacking. " He had no doubt that the Negro was different "not only in development but also in kind";4 and thus Odum foresaw no immediate or long-range equality. Only with white help could the black man prosper. Invoking the sine qua non of Southern racism, Odum saw intermarriage as the chief obstacle to black progress.
Because of her skin color, she was an illegitimate sibling, childlike though not without force of will. Yet the romance, and sometimes reality, contradicted this image by presenting her as the loving foster mother to whom the Southern hero owed all. In this role, as the legendary "kind animal," she was a cultural rebuke to the stereotypically cold and distant white mother. In Lillian Smith's work she becomes the "real" mother; that is, the one who nurtures and truly mothers. And yet the black woman was also regarded as sexually ardent and animal-like in passion.
Yet, the family romance had also pictured blacks as potential savages, in need of the firm hand of white mastery. At the heart of competitive racism lies not the paternalist relationship but the sexually menacing image of blacks. With the white South threatened in the decades on either side of 1900 by political and social rebellion, blacks became the displaced embodiment of those repressed individual and collective impulses which threatened to emerge as the old order came under attack. The solution was to segregate blacks socially and to exploit them economically, just as the unconscious pre-Oedipal drive fragments had to be repressed and driven from consciousness—affirmed, in short, by denial.
A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the American South, 1930-1955 by Richard H. King