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Jarrett Describes the 19th Century “New Negro”

Boston University’s BU Today asked Penn Press author Gene Andrew Jarrett to describe the post Civil War ideal of the "new Negro." Jarrett explains:

The “new Negro” was a concept of the second half of the 19th century,
after the Civil War, when African-Americans were hoping to represent
themselves in new, progressive ways, either in the halls of politics or
in culture. There was a movement from the old Negro — that is, the
plantation slave — to the new Negro, African-Americans who were
considered more refined, educated, sophisticated, and involved in the
political process.

Tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble at BU, Jarrett, author of Deans and Truants: Race and Realism in African American Literature, will join a roundtable of African American studies scholars to discuss the significance of Black History Month. Jarrett listed some of the issues at stake in his BU Today interview:

I think we have to talk about the limitations of Black History Month,
because there can be criticism that it’s a hollow ritual, that it’s
something that is done only one month out of the year, and why not
celebrate black history every month of the year? Secondly, we could
also talk about it in terms of whether the idea of Black History Month
implies a separation from American history. Many scholars have shown
that African-American history is central to our understanding of
American history, to the extent that we have a host of
African-Americans and people in the black diaspora involved in the
development of this country. I think one of the things we can do is
have a fuller sense of what’s at stake.