Category: african american literature

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“That is merde alors!”: Frank Yerby and Identity

Rediscovering Frank Yerby, a project I have been working on for a few years, will be out this May from the University Press of Mississippi. Along with this, UPM will release Veronica Watson’s The Short Stories of Frank Yerby around the same time. I am extremely excited for each of these books, not just because I edited one of them. I am excited because … Read More “That is merde alors!”: Frank Yerby and Identity

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The “historical self” and the “self self”: Part I

Last post, I wrote about the ways that racism, subjugation, and history imprisons everyone, the oppressed and the oppressor alike. Today, I want to continue that discussion by looking at Lillian Smith’s Killers of the Dream and connected her discussion with a couple of the vignettes in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. While Smith focuses, predominately, on the white psyche, Rankine focuses on … Read More The “historical self” and the “self self”: Part I

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The “Visceral Feelings” of Racism in Frank Yerby’s “Griffin’s Way”

Throughout his career, Frank Yerby confronted whiteness and white supremacy in his novels. He looked at the ways that racism, xenophobia, nationalism, and oppression affected the oppressor as well as the oppressed. This is what Lillian Smith does throughout her work. It’s what Harper Lee attempts to do in To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s what Toni Morrison says we should do in Playing in … Read More The “Visceral Feelings” of Racism in Frank Yerby’s “Griffin’s Way”

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The Mythologized South in Frank Yerby’s “Griffin’s Way”

I have to admit, when I started reading Frank Yerby’s Griffin’s Way (1962) I was not impressed. Having written 33 novels over the course of his career, I knew I wouldn’t like all of them, but Griffin’s Way struck me, from the beginning, as odd. I didn’t really like the organization of Candace Trevor’s section. It seemed really disjointed and not at all what … Read More The Mythologized South in Frank Yerby’s “Griffin’s Way”

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Current and Future Projects at the Lillian E. Smith Center

Over the past few weeks, I have been settling into my new position as the Director of the Lillian E. Smith Center (LES Center). During this process, I have started to read more of Smith’s work and learned more about her life and social justice work, specifically through the Laurel Falls Camp and during the Civil Rights movement. There is a lot I could … Read More Current and Future Projects at the Lillian E. Smith Center