There is a strain of Black campus novel that is obsessed with “realness.” I can trace its origins to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, in which the narrator leads his college’s white trustee on a darkly comic and ill-fated tour of the Black homes, brothel, and mental hospital full of Black patients that lie just outside his historically Black college’s campus. Ellison does not necessarily posit these grotesqueries as any “realer” than the Black university professor who expels the narrator and undermines his trip to New York; but, rather, the tension rests on the danger of the white trustee assuming that the degradation he saw is Black people’s true nature—untouched by white oppression and unredeemable by education.
Alabama is not like any of the other southern states. It has, however, until the immediate present, accepted its social and economic philosophy from its sister commonwealths in Dixie. Two facts combine to make Alabama the best place to view the march [...]
The trees rise dense and tall down the sloping bank. Here the growth is so thick that the summer sun barely penetrates. Filtered light and flickering shadows play through the gloomy woods bordering the river's edge. The heat, too, is filtered; the [...]