By Jennifer C. James
Within the first entire research of African American conflict literature, Jennifer James analyzes fiction, poetry, autobiography, and histories concerning the significant wars waged earlier than the desegregation of the U.S. army in 1948. reading literature concerning the Civil struggle, the Spanish-American Wars, global struggle I, and global struggle II, James introduces quite a number infrequent and understudied texts via writers equivalent to Victor Daly, F. supply Gilmore, William Gardner Smith, and Susie King Taylor. She argues that works by means of those in addition to canonical writers resembling William Wells Brown, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Gwendolyn Brooks mark a particular contribution to African American letters.
In constructing African American struggle literature as a long-standing literary style in its personal correct, James additionally considers the ways that this writing, situated because it is on moments of nationwide quandary, advanced debates approximately black identification and African american citizens' claims to citizenship. In a provocative overview, James argues that the very ambivalence over using violence as a political device defines African American battle writing and creates a compelling, contradictory physique of literature that defies effortless summary.
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Extra info for A Freedom Bought with Blood: African American War Literature from the Civil War to World War II
However, the opportunities the bureau provided were all too often negated by the "Black Laws" that many states had rushed to enact in the wake of the Emancipation Proclamation, hoping to keep contraband from securing employment. Most C I V I L WAR W O U N D S 37 of these laws appeared after the war, when free blacks were seen as even more of a threat to white labor. Called "Black Codes" in the South, they imposed restrictions in nearly all aspects of African American life, giving whites the opportunity reign over blacks with impunity.
Because they didn't wear a veil. . ain't got no manhood left anyway. "101 The dehumanization of the enemy other in these statements serves the same purposes as the deanimatization of black bodies within American white supremacist ideology; it permits acts of violence and subjugation against that entity to be committed with impunity. As such, using violence against the "enemy/ other" to "make" a black American national identity—the tool that the dominant culture has wielded to "unmake" that same identity—might be expected to pose a problem for African American war writers.
The purpose of war is to wound, maim, or kill, and to risk being wounded, maimed, or killed, until the most injured forces cede defeat. Winning is a by-product of intentional injuring; injuring is not, Scarry argues, the unfortunate by-product ofwinning. S. Army War College, Ralph Peters argues against such subterfuge, asserting that "we don't need discourses. We need . . the will to close with the enemy and kill him. "100 Peters realizes his frank advocacy of waging a "war of attrition" will prove disconcerting to many; looked at from a rhetorical standpoint, one reason his words carry a disruptive potential lies in his use of the pronoun "him"—his willingness to repersonify an enemy who is often depersonified as a standard diversionary tactic.