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Birthing America’s Kweer: Motherless Children Preach the Gospel of Mercy

Birthing America’s Kweer: Motherless Children Preach the Gospel of Mercy l . l amar Wil S on bI rth I n G a mer I c a’s K weer : m o therless c h I l D ren Pre ach the Gos P el of m ercy The quintessential source of music is the orphan’s ordeal—an orphan being anyone denied kinship, social sustenance, any one A revisionist who suffers, to use Orlando Patterson’s hermeneutic of phrase, “social death.” . . . Song is both a complaint and a consolation dialecti - mercy defies cally tied to thatordeal , where in back of “orphan” one hears echoes of “orphic,” expectations, a music thatt urns on abandonment, ab- moving sence, loss. Think of the black spiritual “Motherless Child.” Music is wounded auditors of kinship’s last resort. —Nathaniel Mackey the elegiac spirituals to It is no surprise that W . E. B. Du Bois—one of Amer- ica’s best-knownorphans —uses refrainsfrom spir- tears even ituals as epigraphs in The Souls of Black Folk (1903) today, an and Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil (1920) to extended make his enduring metaphorsof thecolor line and double consciousnessboth pl ain and timeless.T ak- m oan or wail ing Du Bois’s prescientcue, one that vi rtuallye http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Birthing America’s Kweer: Motherless Children Preach the Gospel of Mercy

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 51 (1) – Dec 9, 2019

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

l . l amar Wil S on bI rth I n G a mer I c a’s K weer : m o therless c h I l D ren Pre ach the Gos P el of m ercy The quintessential source of music is the orphan’s ordeal—an orphan being anyone denied kinship, social sustenance, any one A revisionist who suffers, to use Orlando Patterson’s hermeneutic of phrase, “social death.” . . . Song is both a complaint and a consolation dialecti - mercy defies cally tied to thatordeal , where in back of “orphan” one hears echoes of “orphic,” expectations, a music thatt urns on abandonment, ab- moving sence, loss. Think of the black spiritual “Motherless Child.” Music is wounded auditors of kinship’s last resort. —Nathaniel Mackey the elegiac spirituals to It is no surprise that W . E. B. Du Bois—one of Amer- ica’s best-knownorphans —uses refrainsfrom spir- tears even ituals as epigraphs in The Souls of Black Folk (1903) today, an and Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil (1920) to extended make his enduring metaphorsof thecolor line and double consciousnessboth pl ain and timeless.T ak- m oan or wail ing Du Bois’s prescientcue, one that vi rtuallye

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Dec 9, 2019

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