Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain

Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain

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Examining the significant influence of the Soviet Union on the work of four major African American authorsa€”and on twentieth-century American debates about racea€”Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain remaps black modernism, revealing the importance of the Soviet experience in the formation of a black transnationalism. Langston Hughes, W. E. B. Du Bois, Claude McKay, and Paul Robeson each lived or traveled extensively in the Soviet Union between the 1920s and the 1960s, and each reflected on Communism and Soviet life in works that have been largely unavailable, overlooked, or understudied. Kate A. Baldwin takes up these writings, as well as considerable material from Soviet sourcesa€”including articles in Pravda and Ogonek, political cartoons, Russian translations of unpublished manuscripts now lost, and mistranslations of major textsa€”to consider how these writers influenced and were influenced by both Soviet and American culture. Her work demonstrates how the construction of a new Soviet citizen attracted African Americans to the Soviet Union, where they could explore a national identity putatively free of class, gender, and racial biases. While Hughes and McKay later renounced their affiliations with the Soviet Union, Baldwin shows how, in different ways, both Hughes and McKay, as well as Du Bois and Robeson, used their encounters with the U. S. S. R. and Soviet models to rethink the exclusionary practices of citizenship and national belonging in the United States, and to move toward an internationalism that was a dynamic mix of antiracism, anticolonialism, social democracy, and international socialism. Recovering what Baldwin terms the qSoviet archive of Black America, q this book forces a rereading of some of the most important African American writers and of the transnational circuits of black modernism.122 Just as the most noticeable thing about the Robeson cartoon is his size in comparison with the puny committee members, ... Colonialism is presented as a campaign of transvestism and cross-gender identificationsa€”the feminizing of blackanbsp;...

Title:Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain
Author:Kate A. Baldwin
Publisher:Duke University Press - 2002-09-26


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