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The Delectable NegroHuman Consumption and Homoeroticism within US Slave Culture$
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Vincent Woodard, Justin A. Joyce, and Dwight McBride

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814794616

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814794616.001.0001

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Eating Nat Turner

Eating Nat Turner

(p.171) 5 Eating Nat Turner
The Delectable Negro

Vincent Woodard

NYU Press

This chapter examines the black radical movement of the 1960s to further illuminate the myriad social, spiritual, political, and moral implications of white hunger for and consumption of the black male slaves. It highlights William Styron's novel The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967). This novel, along with Ten Black Writers Respond (1968), the edited black response to the novel, marked the first time that the subject of homosexuality during slavery had received sustained, public debate. The chapter describes what many black intellectuals and activists refer to as Styron's “homosexual” representation of and degradation of Nat Turner's life and revolutionary efforts—an effort which many scholars contest. This national debate, occurring in the 1960s, demonstrated how, for black people, the memory of slavery and questions of cultural origins attached to the slave ship had profound political implications rooted in the history and memory of slavery.

Keywords:   black radical 1960s, white hunger, black male, slavery, William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Ten Black Writers Respond, homosexuality

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