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Black IntersectionalitiesA Critique for the 21st Century$
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Monica Michlin and Jean-Paul Rocchi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781846319389

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846319389.001.0001

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The Souls of Black Gay Folk: The Black Arts Movement and Melvin Dixon’s Revision of Du Boisian Double Consciousness in Vanishing Rooms

The Souls of Black Gay Folk: The Black Arts Movement and Melvin Dixon’s Revision of Du Boisian Double Consciousness in Vanishing Rooms

Chapter:
(p.114) 8 The Souls of Black Gay Folk: The Black Arts Movement and Melvin Dixon’s Revision of Du Boisian Double Consciousness in Vanishing Rooms
Source:
Black Intersectionalities
Author(s):

Charles Nero

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846319389.003.0008

Melvin Dixon’s 1991 novel Vanishing Rooms is widely regarded as a gay novel, but it intersects in specific ways with African American liberation struggles. First, it uses the queer doubling convention that W. E. B. Du Bois proposed in The Souls of Black Folk (1903) and earlier works to represent homoerotic desire between a feminized African American male and a reckless, masculine white male as the basis for interracial nation-building. Women, in this convention, cement the bonds of men with men that feminist and queer theorists contend are the basis of patriarchy. Second, the novel bears the unequivocal stamp of the Black Arts Movement through its use of two icons, Nina Simone and the Nation of Islam. While ending patriarchy remains a challenge, the novel brilliantly calls into question an exclusive focus on gay liberation that does not address the specificity of black experience.

Keywords:   Black Arts Movement, Dixon, doubling, DuBois, Gay Liberation, Nation of Islam, Nina Simone, patriarchy, queer, Vanishing Rooms

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