The New Negro in the Old South (The American Literatures Initiative) (Hardcover)

The New Negro in the Old South (The American Literatures Initiative) By Gabriel A. Briggs Cover Image

The New Negro in the Old South (The American Literatures Initiative) (Hardcover)


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Standard narratives of early twentieth-century African American history credit the Great Migration of southern blacks to northern metropolises for the emergence of the New Negro, an educated, upwardly mobile sophisticate very different from his forebears. Yet this conventional history overlooks the cultural accomplishments of an earlier generation, in the black communities that flourished within southern cities immediately after Reconstruction.  
In this groundbreaking historical study, Gabriel A. Briggs makes the compelling case that the New Negro first emerged long before the Great Migration to the North. The New Negro in the Old South reconstructs the vibrant black community that developed in Nashville after the Civil War, demonstrating how it played a pivotal role in shaping the economic, intellectual, social, and political lives of African Americans in subsequent decades. Drawing from extensive archival research, Briggs investigates what made Nashville so unique and reveals how it served as a formative environment for major black intellectuals like Sutton Griggs and W.E.B. Du Bois.
The New Negro in the Old South makes the past come alive as it vividly recounts little-remembered episodes in black history, from the migration of Colored Infantry veterans in the late 1860s to the Fisk University protests of 1925. Along the way, it gives readers a new appreciation for the sophistication, determination, and bravery of African Americans in the decades between the Civil War and the Harlem Renaissance. 
GABRIEL A. BRIGGS is a senior lecturer in the English department at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. 
Product Details ISBN: 9780813574790
ISBN-10: 081357479X
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: November 13th, 2015
Pages: 240
Language: English
Series: The American Literatures Initiative
"With precision and economy, literary scholar Briggs delivers a rich African-American history of Nashville, Tenn., to argue that the 'New Negro' appeared before the Great Migration of the interwar period … The book's scholarly structure and language won't prevent lay readers from reaping the rewards of Briggs's elegantly written history of people and events that remain relevant today."
— Publishers Weekly

“Briggs is a cogent writer and a skilled historian with dexterous talents for stitching together edifying patchworks of historiography and textual analysis, weaving together local evidence and a global argument with rhythmical flair."
— Michael A. Chaney

"Arguing persuasively for Nashville’s impact on the New Negro Movement, Gabriel Briggs challenges the assumptions we hold regarding a watershed moment in 20th century African American literary and cultural history."
— Herman Beavers

"The New Negro in the Old South raises powerful questions about the origins of black protest thought and the limitations of the Great Migration narrative."
— The American Historical Review

"Briggs's attention to Nashville's influence on Du Bois and to Griggs's texts is illuminating, and his focus on the protests in the city is important recover work … this is an interesting study, with compelling insights."
— The Journal of American History

"Briggs’ study of fin-de-siecle New Negroes in the South is a superb interdisciplinary discussion. Extraordinary are his portraits of Du Bois and of Nashville, 'the cauldron of the New Negro sensibility.'".
— Robert B. Stepto

"Briggs writes with eloquence and clarity and with lyricism of words that pulls the reader into this nonfiction work with the ease and flow of reading a novel."
— Journal of American Culture