Connecting Times
The Sixties in Afro-American Fiction

By Norman Harris

197 pages, 6 x 9 inches

9781934110591 Paper $25.00D

Paper, $25.00

A stimulating study of black literature and an analysis of the 1960s through literary art

In Connecting Times Norman Harris focuses on how Afro-Americans involved in the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power movement, or the Vietnam War either failed or achieved in making sense of their lives when the goals they struggled for were not accomplished. In seven novels whose plot and characterization are determined by one or more of these major historical events - Meridian, Look What They Done to My Song, The Cotillion or One Good Bull is Half the Herd, The Last Days of Louisiana Red, Captain Blackman, Coming Home, and Tragic Magic - Harris finds the basis for his interpretations, and he finds the place of these novels likewise in the context of historical writings of the 1960s.

Central to Harris's analysis of history through literature is the idea of the quest myth that permeates Afro-American culture. According to Robert Stepto, the quest is for freedom and literacy, freedom as an end to slavery and literacy as the ability to read, write, and indeed to interpret cultural signs.

For those Afro-Americans attuned to their culture this symbolic meaning manifests a collective significance for Afro-American cultural symbols. It is these whom Harris considers truly literate.

He extends his concept of freedom to knowledge of the many options available in the reservoir of Afro-American history. This freedom is knowledge of racial memory, and one's awareness of this racial memory and its effect upon individuals in confrontational situations determines one's degree of literacy.

It is these definitions of freedom and literacy and the Afro-American quest for them that Harris applies in his analysis of literature set against the historical backdrop of Civil Rights, Black Power, and Vietnam.

This study of American social history under the illuminating ray of the novels rising out of the black struggle for freedom and literacy offers valuable insights and new interpretations for a pivotal time in the United States. Dr. Norman Harris is President of One World Archives and has more than thirty years of university teaching experience at a variety of research universities including the University of Georgia, Purdue University, and Wayne State University. Dr. Harris on the faculty of the College of Educational Leadership and Change at Fielding Graduate University.

197 pages, 6 x 9 inches