A History of African American Autobiography

By Joycelyn Moody |

This History explores innovations in African American autobiography since its inception, examining the literary and cultural history of Black self-representation amid life writing studies. By analyzing the different forms of autobiography, including pictorial and personal essays, editorials, oral histories, testimonials, diaries, personal and open letters, and even poetry performance media of autobiographies, this book extends the definition of African American autobiography, revealing how people of African descent have created and defined the Black self in diverse print cultures and literary genres since their arrival in the Americas. It illustrates ways African Americans use life writing and autobiography to address personal and collective Black experiences of identity, family, memory, fulfillment, racism and white supremacy. Individual chapters examine scrapbooks as a source of self-documentation, African American autobiography for children, readings of African American persona poems, mixed-race life writing after the Civil Rights Movement, and autobiographies by African American LGBTQ writers.

Moody, Joycelyn K., ed. A History of African American Autobiography. Cambridge New York Port Melbourne New Delhi Singapore: Cambridge University Press, 2021.