This article discusses how Colson Whitehead's novel, John Henry Days, questions the accuracy of the portrayal of African American masculinities within a dominant white historiography. It reads the festival portrayed in John Henry Days as a concerted effort to disguise and disrupt any sincere attempts at exposing the realities of working-class African American life in the (post)Reconstruction South. Likewise, the article questions to what extent the contemporary social realities portrayed in the novel allow for a sincere attempt to remember and mourn those working-class African American men who died for the industrial progress celebrated during the novel's festival, the John Henry Days.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Literature and Literary Theory