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Black Hibiscus - African Americans and the Florida Imaginary

Black Hibiscus

African Americans and the Florida Imaginary

Edited by John Wharton Lowe
Hardcover : 9781496848598, 312 pages, 4 color illustrations, January 2024
Paperback : 9781496848604, 312 pages, 4 color illustrations, January 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-01-15
Expected to ship: 2024-01-15

An exploration of the significant literary and cultural contributions from African Americans in the Sunshine State


Contributions by Simone A. Alexander, José Felipe Alvergue, Valerie Babb, Pamela Bordelon, Taylor Hagood, Joyce Marie Jackson, Delia Malia Konzett, Jane Landers, John Wharton Lowe, Gary Monroe, Noelle Morrissette, Paul Ortiz, Lyrae Van Clef-Stefanon, Genevieve West, and Belinda Wheeler

The state of Florida has a rich literary and cultural history, which has been greatly shaped by many different ethnicities, races, and cultures that call the Sunshine State home. Little attention has been paid, however, to the key role of African Americans in Floridian history and culture. The state’s early population boom came from immigrants from the US South, and many of them were African Americans. Interaction between the state’s ethnic communities has created a unique and vibrant culture, which has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on southern, national, and hemispheric life and history.

Black Hibiscus: African Americans and the Florida Imaginary begins by exploring Florida’s colonial past, focusing particularly on interactions between maroons who escaped enslavement, and on Albery Whitman’s The Rape of Florida, which also links Black people and Native Americans. Contributors consider film, folklore, and music, as well as such key Black writers as Zora Neale Hurston, James Weldon Johnson, Gwendolyn Bennett, Colson Whitehead, and Edwidge Danticat. The volume features Black Floridians’ role in the civil rights movement and Black contributions to the celebrated Florida Writers’ Project. Contributors include literary scholars, historians, film critics, art historians, anthropologists, musicologists, political scientists, artists, and poets.


"Convening a range of scholars of Florida’s African American literary and cultural history, Black Hibiscus offers a unique engagement with contemporary scholarship marked by clarity of vision and conceptual verve."

- Keith Cartwright, professor of English at University of North Florida

"Through interviews, first-person accounts, and traditional academic essays, Black Hibiscus disrupts typical racial and cultural narratives about Florida and shows the centrality of the Black experience to the state."

- Julie Buckner Armstrong, author of Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching