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Toni MorrisonMemory and Meaning$
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Adrienne Lanier Seward and Justine Tally

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628460193

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2015

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628460193.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Property and American Identity in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Property and American Identity in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

(p.159) Property and American Identity in Toni Morrison’s Beloved
Toni Morrison

Lovalerie King

University Press of Mississippi

King’s essay reads Beloved as part of a collective intertext by which African American cultural production provides African America’s perspective on racialized discourse and practice throughout American History, particularly as it relates rights, protections, and privileges associated with citizenship, and more specifically with the relationship between American identity and property. The conflict between property rights and human rights is intrinsic to the American experience and its history of racialized slavery. Legal scholars and historians have shown that under slavery, law and custom worked in tandem to advance the notion of white supremacy, to cultivate the relationship between whiteness and property, and to secure for property–owning white Americans all the rights, privileges, and protections of citizenship that were simultaneously denied to enslaved Blacks. With Beloved, Toni Morrison illustrates some profound implications of such a legal system, acknowledging the larger philosophical and psychological considerations of being that the acquisition of material property cannot resolve. (153 words)

Keywords:   Beloved, property, legal rights, slavery, citizenship

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