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Race, Place, & Space: Historicizing Blackness & Mobility

Howard, Matthew. Race, Place, & Space: Historicizing Blackness & Mobility. 2022. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.

This collection of literary texts and the analysis herein details the American obsession with kinesthetics and mobility -- specifically through the lens of African Americans as they try to be mobile in the face of racism. Works from James Weldon Johnson, William Attaway, and Toni Morrison are situated here as snapshots of the black lived experience and literary tradition of becoming mobile in the US despite a corrupting and inhibitive politics of placement that legibilizes black people as lesser and therefore undeserving of mobility or its benefits. Placed alongside the Negro Motorist Green Book, the travel guide that set many black drivers on a track for automobility, this chapter's analysis of literary works from black authors is meant to provoke the idea that mobility can, and perhaps should, be considered a right -- inalienable and protected as such.

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