Undermining Whiteness and Promoting Protest: Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow and the Fledgling Civil Rights Movement by Katie Warczak

Dublin Core

Title

Undermining Whiteness and Promoting Protest: Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow and the Fledgling Civil Rights Movement by Katie Warczak

Subject

History

Description

This paper offers a revisionist perspective on the relationship between white-life novels, or literature written by African Americans that features majority white casts of characters, and the early Civil Rights Movement in the United States. While most scholars have dismissed white-life texts, particularly those published in the post-World War II era, as pandering, raceless works unworthy of study, this paper shows that the rise in the number of white-life novels in the years following the Second World War was a response to societal and publishing pressures that made it nearly impossible for African Americans to publish more traditional protest literature. However, as Yerby's Foxes illustrates, while these works appeared raceless, they contained racial messages that interacted with, and furthered, several goals of the early Civil Rights Movement, specifically undermining white supremacy and advocating for racial integration. In Foxes, the novel that begin the postwar white-life novel trend, these Civil Rights goals are furthered through the white protagonist, Stephen Fox's gradual transformation from a racist slave-holding plantation owner to a tolerant man who contemplates freeing and paying his former slaves as well as through one slave, Inch's, successful integration into white society. As the harbinger of a new wave of white-life novels, Foxes was extremely influential and many African American authors subsequently penned white-life texts that built on these anti-white supremacy and pro-integration arguments. Examining white-life works is therefore essential, not only for understanding the literature of the time, but for comprehending another grassroots contribution to the early Civil Rights Movement.

Creator

Warczak, Katie

Source

Senior Showcase Oral presentation

Publisher

Ripon College

Date

April 19, 2016

Rights

The author reserves all rights.

Format

pdf

Identifier

Majors: English, History
Minors: German and American Studies
Oshkosh, WI
HIS 490 - Senior Seminar

Files

WarczakK 2016 Senior Showcase History Paper.pdf

Citation

Warczak, Katie, “ Undermining Whiteness and Promoting Protest: Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow and the Fledgling Civil Rights Movement by Katie Warczak,” Senior Showcase Digital Collection, accessed January 23, 2018, http://rcseniorshowcase.omeka.net/items/show/42.

Social Bookmarking