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African American Women Writers’ Historical Fiction by Ana Nunes (auth.)

By Ana Nunes (auth.)

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Later, she wrote about some of the episodes that had a formative 26 AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN WRITERS’ HISTORICAL FICTION effect on her personality: “Once, we climbed the fire escape to see a movie, because there was no Negro entrance, and after that we saw no movies. Another time my mother stood for hours upstairs in a darkened theatre to hear a recital by Rachmaninoff, because there were no seats for colored. My father was chased home one night at the point of a gun by a drunken policeman who resented seeing a fountain pen in a “nigger’s” pocket.

41 The recognition of the precedence of the oral text over the written word is fundamental to understanding the nature and form of Walker’s novel. ”42 Walker’s ambition was to recreate the periods of slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction from a point of view that she understood as historically accurate. Studying the myriad layers of historical narratives, she created a historical context in which to give shape to her grandmother’s oral narrative. However, this was not to be a history book. The historical and personal facts were a basis for an imaginative engagement with her past in every sense of the word—gaps could be imagined into existence.

S]lave marriages,” as White states, “survived all sorts of problems . . ”73 In Louisiana, as Franklin and Moss declare, the “law forbade separation of a mother from a child under ten years of age, and some other states discouraged the division of families. ”74 The economic nature of slave trading and slave breeding involved the separation of families and the suppression of the voices of those whose culture and community had opened the novel. This context is intensified in terms set by motherhood.

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