He Speaks in Your Voice: American

Gene Andrew Jarrett began his 2006 book Deans and Truants with a deceptively simple question: What is African American literature? The term, after all, refers not merely to the subject matter of the works it describes but to literature that both represents the African American experience and is written by authors who are themselves black. But what, then, of black authors who have written works without black characters? Or of those who are of mixed race? “You can’t take this question for granted, because it’s at the heart of so many questions of human identity and, in particular, race,” says Jarrett, an associate professor of English.

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