By Ron Eyerman

This publication explores the formation of the African-American id throughout the idea of cultural trauma. The trauma in query is slavery, no longer as an establishment or as own adventure, yet as collective memory--a pervasive remembrance that grounded a people's experience of itself. Ron Eyerman bargains insights into the highbrow and generational conflicts of identity-formation that have a very common importance, and gives a brand new and compelling account of the start of African-American identification.

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Additional resources for Cultural Trauma: Slavery and the Formation of African American Identity

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If there was one area of agreement between class-related cultural tastes, it concerned racial stereotyping. George Fredrickson (1971) concludes his historical study referred to above of “the black image in the white mind” with the following list upon which there was “widespread, almost universal, agreement,” amongst whites, North and South, even after emancipation and reconstruction: 1. Blacks are physically, intellectually, and temperamentally different from whites. 2. Blacks are also inferior to whites in at least some of the fundamental qualities, wherein races differ, especially in intelligence and in the temperamental basis of enterprise or initiative.

It graduated its first college class in 1876, an important event in the formation of this first generation after slavery. Morehouse took its name from Henry Morehouse, a white Baptist educator and missionary who served as executive secretary of the American Baptist Home Missionary Society. Morehouse is also the originator of the notion of the “talented tenth” that would become associated with W. E. B. Du Bois. In arguing for the financial support of black education he said: “I repeat that not to make proper provision for the high education of the talented tenth man of the colored colleges is a prodigious mistake .

Blacks reinterpreted national holidays, like New Year’s Day and the 4th of July, to commemorate their own history and identity as distinct from white Americans. January 1, 1863 was the day the Emancipation Proclamation was read, thus by transforming the New Year’s Day celebration into Emancipation Day, blacks appropriated a white holiday into one of their own. 22 Traditionally the day when slave owners would reorganize their workforce and thus split apart family members amongst their slaves, “This day which hitherto separated so many families, and tear-wet so many faces; heaved so many hearts, and filled the air with so many groans and sighs; this of all others the most bitter day of the year to our miserable race, shall henceforth and forever be filled with acclamations of the wildest joy, and expressions of ecstasy too numerous for angelic pens to note” (13).

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