Identity And Race In Multiracial African American Post-Reconstruction And Post-Civil Rights Autobiographies
MetadataShow full item record
Type of WorkText
DepartmentEnglish and Languages
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
RightsThis item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.
African American studies
This study investigates identity and race in multiracial African American post-Reconstruction and post-Civil Rights autobiographies. Specifically, these themes are examined to analyze how people who are direct descendants of one European, Jewish, black, or Italian American parent and one African parent describe themselves in their autobiographies in spite of the one-drop rule, which society uses to characterize Americans with any amount of African ancestry as black. M.M. Bahktin's The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays is employed to ascertain how the autobiographers challenge notions of race and create an identity. Writers in both periods differ in their depictions of their public and private personas and their bodies. The earlier writers use their character, achievements, and socio-economic status to challenge white supremacy, to argue for equality, and to gain assimilation into mainstream America. As a result, they display their humanity with their professional success, monetary wealth, and social distinctions. In contrast to the earlier writers, the post-Civil Rights autobiographers use their narratives to display their vulnerability in various social situations. In addition, the later writers discuss their flaws and insecurities, and unlike the post-Reconstruction writers' use of the body to display their accomplishments, the later writers show how racism affects how their family and society treat them. The discussion of race and identity changes in the multiracial African American autobiography because the racial, social, and political climate in America evolves. During the post-Reconstruction period, some multiracial African Americans and African Americans were denied equality and inclusion into mainstream America. Many individuals who have African American ancestry united to argue for the elimination of racism and full inclusion into mainstream America. As a result, multiracial African Americans design an image in the autobiography to convince white Americans to acknowledge them as citizens and recognize their humanity. However, the later writers have voting, housing, employment, and educational rights that are protected by the constitution. Since the laws protect their individual rights and grant them inclusion in society, they focus on documenting their multiple ancestries and gaining access to different racial communities.