Antebellum literature imposed the distortions of moralistic controversy and made the Negro a wax-figure of the marketplace: postbellum literature retaliated with the condescending reactions of sentiment and caricature and made the Negro a genre stereotype. Sustained, serious or deep study of Negro life and character has thus been entirely below the horizon of our national art. Only gradually through the dull purgatory of the Age of Discussion has Negro life eventually issued forth to an Age of Expression.
—William Stanley Braithwaite, “The Negro in American Literature” (1925)
Noted Harlem Renaissance poet and critic William Stanley...
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