Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Clinging to Mammy: Our Relationship with Slavery

Clinging to Mammy: Our Relationship with Slavery

October 21, 2007

Micki McElya professor, American studies, University of Alabama

Micki McElya, professor of American studies at the University of Alabama examines why we cling to the notion of "mammy." She argues that the figure of the loyal slave has played a powerful role in modern American politics and culture. Stories of faithful slaves expose the power and reach of the myth, not only in popular advertising, films, and literature about the South, but also in national monument proposals, child custody cases, New Negro activism, anti-lynching campaigns, and the civil rights movement. If we are to reckon with the continuing legacy of slavery in the United States, McElya argues, we must confront the depths of our desire for mammy and recognize its full racial implications.

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