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Prefiguring PostblacknessCultural Memory, Drama, and the African American Freedom Struggle of the 1960s$
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Carol Bunch Davis

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781496802989

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496802989.001.0001

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date: 25 June 2018

Prefiguring Postblackness in Charles Gordone’s No Place to Be Somebody: A Black Black Comedy in Three Acts

Prefiguring Postblackness in Charles Gordone’s No Place to Be Somebody: A Black Black Comedy in Three Acts

Chapter:
(p.129) Chapter Five Prefiguring Postblackness in Charles Gordone’s No Place to Be Somebody: A Black Black Comedy in Three Acts
Source:
Prefiguring Postblackness
Author(s):

Carol Bunch Davis

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496802989.003.0006

This chapter offers a reading of Charles Gordone's 1969 Pulitzer Prize–winning play, No Place to Be Somebody: A Black Black Comedy in Three Acts. Through No Place to Be Somebody, Gordone questions cultural memory's master narrative of the African American Freedom Struggle. The protagonist, Gabe Gabriel, is both playwright and “a solo black performer within the context of the play,” and the chapter situates his four solo performances within No Place to Be Somebody's onstage action as counternarratives to heroic era accounts of both the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the residential desegregation of the era. Gabriel refuses black identity's monolithic representation offered in both direct action protest and black cultural nationalism. He and Gordone offer black subjectivity as neither rooted in nor limited to cultural memory's binary opposition between civil rights heroism and Black Nationalist villainy.

Keywords:   black subjectivity, Charles Gordone, No Place to Be Somebody, cultural memory, African American Freedom Struggle, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, residential desegregation, black identity, cultural nationalism, direct action protest

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