Memoirs of Race, Color, and Belonging provides a fresh look at the complex dialogue of race and identity in memoir, examining three generations of biracial African Americans’ experiences in their autobiographies. Exploring writers from James McBride and Shirlee Taylor Haizlip to Barack Obama, Toi Dericotte, Natasha Trethway, Rebecca Walker, and Emily Raboteau, this volume explores the ways in which these memoirists refute terms regarding race and simple understandings of belonging, using their contested embodied positions as sites for narration, quest, and protest. Organized chronologically, this volume will provide readers insight into memoirs from Jim Crow America to the Civil Rights period and finally those considering the post-soul (and post-Loving v. Virginia) generation. Memoirs of Race, Color, and Belonging interrogates these difficult spaces surrounding identity construction, encouraging new conversations surrounding visibility of mixed-race individuals and experiences for future generations. Through archives and personal testimony, this book provides a model for interweaving theoretical and personal accounts of color in American culture to encourage discussions that transgress disciplinary boundaries in the today’s dialogue.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Relationality, Identification, and the One-Drop Rule
Hospitality, Inheritance, and Collective Memory
Chapter 1: Haunting and "The new America": Living with Jim Crow
Passing: Spectral Temporality & Surveillance
"home in language": Proprioceptive Subjectivity
Chapter 2: Memorials and Filiality in the Civil Rights Era
"The words to tell the story": Driven to Memorialize
Still Haunted: Postmemory and Place-Memory
Chapter 3: Movement Children: The Post-Soul Generation
"Belonging is my birthright": Being Post-Soul
The Paradox of Hospitality
Conclusion: Considering Genetic Identity
Nicole Stamant, author of Serial Memoir: Archiving American Lives (Palgrave, 2014), is Associate Professor and Chair of English at Agnes Scott College, where she specializes in Life Writing Studies. She earned her PhD in English from Texas A&M University and her articles have appeared in ARIEL, MELUS, a/b: Auto/Biography, South Central Review, and Studies in Comics among others. She has contributed to a number of edited collections; most recently Consumption and the Literary Cookbook (Routledge 2020). In 2018, she received the Agnes Scott Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award.