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Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial Representation$
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Shirley Moody-Turner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617038853

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617038853.001.0001

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Recovering Folklore as a Site of Resistance

Recovering Folklore as a Site of Resistance

Anna Julia Cooper and the Hampton Folklore Society

(p.72) 3 Recovering Folklore as a Site of Resistance
Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial Representation

Shirley Moody-Turner

University Press of Mississippi

Chapter three argues that the work of the Hampton Folklore Society must be understood within, but also beyond, the bounds of both the Hampton Institute and the “scientific” frame offered by the American Folklore Society. This chapter shows how the folklorists, focusing specifically on folklorists Robert Moton, resisted having their work confined to the ideology of the Hampton Institute, while also questioning the politics of assuming a “scientific,” and often objectifying, approach to the study of their own traditions. Set within the context of the emergence of the “New Negro” ideal, the second half of this chapter examines how the Society became a site of lively dialogue, where members of the larger black intellectual community, particularly Anna Julia Cooper, debated folklore’s role in creating a “new,” distinctly African American literature rooted in a social justice agenda.

Keywords:   Anna Julia Cooper, Robert Moton, Hampton Folklore Society, African American Folklore, Black Intellectual Community

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