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Labor PainsNew Deal Fictions of Race, Work, and Sex in the South$
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Christin Marie Taylor

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496821775

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496821775.001.0001

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Cultivating Feeling

Cultivating Feeling

Black Women’s Work and Desire in George Wylie Henderson’s Ollie Miss

(p.31) Chapter One Cultivating Feeling
Labor Pains

Christin Marie Taylor

University Press of Mississippi

Ollie Miss brings together the labor politics of Alabama, reflecting George Wylie Henderson’s personal connections to the state. With this unique perspective, Henderson subtly intervenes in a labor crisis brought on by the Depression and the New Deal-era Agricultural Adjustment Act. What’s more, Henderson shifts from the focus on male workers that dominated the period, suggesting black women workers’ feeling as a central issue of his day. Setting the affect of a single migrant woman’s erotic stirrings in tension with agricultural toil, Henderson rethinks dominant labor narratives. Ollie’s real work —transcending confining labor circumstances by cultivating the pangs of erotic feeling —generates what we may call “cultivated desire.”

Keywords:   George Wylie Henderson, Erotic, Tuskegee, African American Women, Sharecropping

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