Paul Laurence Dunbar: Traveling and Abroad

this program is brought to you by Stanford University please visit us at stanford.edu hush hush somebody callin my name hush hush somebody’s calling my name hush somebody’s calling my name oh my oh my watch I good afternoon I would love to have a response good afternoon thank you so very much I have to hi I have to tell my wife students at our utah that I come from a traditional call-and-response oh I don’t expect to tell you guys that good afternoon thank you um I’ve made a lot of jokes about Utah already so I’ll avoid that except to say that every time I I take a look at the the topic for my panel I want to say it’s traveling from abroad since i’m coming from utah and most people think that they are only brothers from another planet or something live in that state like that so but it is actually traveling and abroad and we have three presenters this afternoon Adrian Gaskins is from CU Boulder he tells me that he’s teaching this semester because he postponed his postdoctoral fellowship for a year so he’s teaching despite what the arm bio says Blair LM Kelly professor Kelly comes to us from North Carolina State University and she lo Lee is from william rainey harper college he will speak on a chinese reading of dunbar professor kelly will speak on and did not once have to take a Jim Crow car the travels of Dunbar in the age of segregation and the first paper by Professor Gaskins is titled from Dayton to Donna Mae to Denver doesn’t Dunbar’s travels and the movement of new Negroes in the early 20th century okay we’ll try this again good afternoon everyone my father was a Methodist minister so I know very well the Colin response first of all I apologize to the organizers and everyone for not being here this morning as dr. Samuel said I am teaching this semester and came down with the flu a couple weeks ago and just kind of still trying to get my strength and voice back so was just kind of on a lot of medication and down for the count this morning so I apologize for that I’d like to begin by thanking Stanford University in the conference organizers for hosting such a first class event like a lot of conferences part of the fun is in seeing familiar friends and faces it’s especially nice to be reunited with maeda Jones my next-door Newark ubicool buddy when we were both Carter G woods and fellows at the University of Virginia a few years back and also he might not remember this but thanks to Richard Yarborough who was an especially kind committee member when at the American Studies panel few years ago on the mock job interview I was kind of the guinea pig and dr. Garber was particularly kind in his comments about my interview I don’t think I got the job but I carry on nonetheless anyway these kinds of reunions are very important and I bring them up in part because they represent some of the best parts of academic life the social networks that often lie behind scholarly production and are one of the mainstays of cultural production this is certainly true in my research on black American travelers in the age of us imperial expansion what I call the Empire’s new Negro dunbar in this research was always a kind of shadowy figure in the margins of the story that I was trying to tell about how overseas travel by black Americans was shaping and emerging black political subjectivity at the turn of the 20th century as I investigated the journeys of contemporaries and colleagues of

Dunbar’s such as Dubois and James Weldon Johnson I to be Wells to name but a few Dunbar kept showing up even though at the time I foolishly thought he didn’t really have a place in the narrative I was constructing well the announcement for this conference changed all that so Dunbar started himself and stepped forward into the spotlight of my work and I should have known better because Dunbar had actually been a part of my life for as long as I can remember my family moved from Alabama to Northern Kentucky just across the river from Cincinnati Ohio when I was four and my father’s first assignment as a new pastor out of the seminary took us 50 miles north every Sunday to people’s temple in Dayton Ohio so I got a very special introduction to Paul Laurence Dunbar from a very early age got to see the neighborhood and and all that and it was a trip that I would later discover echoed countless such crossings by African Americans throughout the 19th century across that Kentucky Ohio corridor the border there of the Ohio River including Dunbar’s parents Matilda and Joshua born in Kentucky and moving north to Ohio a couple of quick asides for that one is the if you haven’t had a chance to visit the new national hunger Underground Railroad Freedom Center I encourage you to do so it’s a really tremendous achievement and again it that crossing of the Ohio and I’ve encouraged them I visited several times and wrote a review for a journal and said you know you really need to do more with Dunbar here in this exhibit and so we’re kind of talking about that and second yesterday when Greg Robinson correctly noted how most Dunbar schools are in poor largely racially separate communities my mind immediately went to the gleaming Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington Kentucky where I went to college at the University of Kentucky and which is not only in a fairly diverse it’s not only a fairly diverse school itself but it’s in a nice part of town and it’s generally regarded as the best school in the city of Lexington and among the best in the state unless to anyone harbor any doubts about Dunbar’s legacy just yesterday morning as I was getting ready to come over here to the opening of the conference I saw in one of the morning news shows an interview with a Kentucky family featured on a new show about cheerleading that follows the trails travails of high school cheerleading squad from Dunbar High School so it’s quite something to see Dunbar’s name prominent as young white girls are hurdle through the air in cheerleading outfits and kind of gave me pause wonder what the Bard himself would say about that use of his name give me a B I want to talk kind of broadly about how i use Dunbar kind of in my work as I think it opens up a lot of questions for further investigation so I have three kind of framing questions and maybe when you talk about how these work later first what happens when we place Dunbar in a more specifically political orbit not just kind of as a literary figure but in a political orbit the one he inhabited with racial uplift and civil rights luminaries of the time such as Dubois James Weldon Johnson I to be Wells but also other kind of less known figures like Charles young Richard to me and some other figures who Dunbar also worked around again those kind of social networks that really shape you know knowledge production and culture to how does his work look if we allow it to travel kind of Allah literary critic Edward Saeed you know with talking about theories that travel what if we allow Dunbar’s work to travel not only in his own travels across the United States and overseas to England but also to places like the Philippine Islands at the turn of the century where black American soldiers engaged in a war of conquest with the Philippines read and recited his poetry and perhaps even performed his musicals in their segregated military units they each group military unit had their own separate band and kind of minstrel troupe and they would perform these for segregated audiences in the Philippines with the kind of white colonial officers sitting in in the theater and with Filipino sitting up in the balcony so as Jim Crow itself kind of moves across ocean that notion of segregated spaces is still very much a part of that with an interesting triangulation of kind of black performers and soldiers white colonial administrators and native Filipinos and third in terms of his legacy how did the impact of the development of the new Negro movement

and again folks have kind of debated that but you know I kind of go with the early to later stage 1895 1945 or so kind of framed by important wars of conquest by his influence on fellow writers and activists and the example that I will talk about briefly is Richard to me who was a soldier who went over to the Philippines came back to United States produced a book of poetry which Dunbar wrote the introduction for and then later moved to Miami and started a law firm and promoted civil rights down in that South Florida area so to kind of again see Dunbar’s legacy is really spreading not just in the literary sense but in a very political sense as well in their fine introduction to the recently published and very timely the support of the gods and other essential writings shelley fisher Fishkin and david bradley meditate on how Dunbar is a mix of kind of old and new Negro suggesting in some ways that he’s a transitional figure in black life and letters I follow their lead by way of suggesting we can also see him as a transnational new Negro one whose concerns again move across spaces and times this transnational new Negro is what i described turn of the 20th century black women and men who travel overseas and contribute again to a new black political and cultural subjectivity for a new century I like the definition of new Negro offered by music scholar John Michael Spencer in his book on the music of the new Negroes p writes that a new was one quote who chose to take his or her birthright and vindicate it with the self-conscious racialism a conscious acceptance of race and of being racially black unquote Dunbar invited this throughout his life in a variety anyways and as we’ve seen over the past couple of days not always to the satisfaction of all of his critics and readers in a 1900 letter to his friend in the future mayor of Toledo Ohio brand Whitlock Dunbar remarks quote unless we live our lives of protest and few of us are willing to do that we are as guilty as the lynches of the south we are all tarred I like his pun there with the same stick unquote this brings to mind phonons prophetic observation in his classic wretched of the earth and again to think about Dunbar in this more political vain for non rights well before the pale before the political fighting phase of national movements and attentive spectator can thus feel and see the manifestations of a new vigor and feel the approaching conflict he will note unusual forms of expression and themes which are fresh and imbued with the power which is no longer that of invocation but rather of the assembling of the people a summoning together for a precise purpose everything works together to awaken the native sensibility of defeat and to make unreal and unacceptable the contemplative attitude or the acceptance of defeat unquote funan draws our attention to the ways that artistic expression especially when couched in forms acceptable to the dominant group prefigure or anticipate more direct political action when more favorable conditions obtained I would argue that dumb bar was one kind of attentive spectator as a new Negro during the era of us imperial expansion as political scientist Philip Clinton and Roger Smith demonstrating their book unsteady march as black Americans travel the world they note how white supremacy and Empire were common features around the globe not just in the u.s. south and not just as the result of slavery right Dubois talks about this belting of the color line around the world right thumb bar as a contemporary of Dubois and James Weldon Johnson and I to be Wells and others understands this you know the kind of global aspect of racial thought and white supremacy for example again as Black American soldiers returned home from 20th turned the 20th century wars of conquest and pacification Clayton ER and Smith argued that there weren’t the organ is a in place yet to consolidate the Valor they showed on the field on what I call the colonial proving ground black Americans could give up or at least risk their lives overseas for a country that would then turn around and lynch them upon returning home this was important in the formation of black civil rights organizations at the turn of the century and later the n-double-a-cp National Urban League and others a period which Darlene historian Darlene Clark hein calls the proto civil rights area so again to put Dunbar in this orbit and he to talk about that in terms of the founding of the American Negro Academy working with Alexander crummell and and other black civil rights early civil rights workers and of course even earlier at the Columbian Exposition with Frederick Douglass and I to be wells in booker t washington even right at that time so again to see Dunbar is being

influenced and influencing this orbit of civil rights black freedom workers and to think of his work more in that way running out of time so let me just move forward a little bit Dunbar’s political and literary work also points to the ways in which a discourse of emigration ISM and imperialism deep into the black consciousness and culture at the turn of the century through popular productions such as J Rosamond Johnson Robert Cole’s the shoe fly regiment Bert Williams and George Walker’s performances of India home a emigration and Empire provided critical material for entertainers and audiences trying to make sense of international developments and I look at black soldiers again who are fighting in these wars sometimes staying in the Philippines and making lives for themselves over there and then having a different sense of what race means and what freedom means coming back to the United States and forming different organizations and clubs so then having that critical mass of civil rights and cultural organizations that for later wars World War One World War two when black involvement is more consolidated and there is now leverage that a Phil brand often others can push to the state I talk about this again looking at blacks who spent time in the Philippines and other parts of the Pacific again looking at how Dunbar’s work was central to kind of shaping their ideas about race and nation and empire and the role that blacks could play in that for dunbar travel could also take shape in the context of the military perhaps if it his health had allowed for it part of why he wrote about soldiers so much i think is because of friends like Richard to me who wrote a book of poetry called thoughts for true Americans in which Dunbar hailed him as a singer soldier you know talking about how important it was for black Americans to see themselves as Americans not just as as blacks so kind of prefiguring a time when segregation and other kind of state formations would mean less restrictions on African Americans finally I also talked about Dunbar traveling to the west and to try to think about what that means is I find myself in Colorado also a black man in the West and what that means in terms of being an attentive spectator for a race and foreign nation still grappling with issues again around conquest in genocide and looking specifically there’s some collection of letters and things from Dunbar in Colorado to see what he says about Native Americans what he says about different groups other racialized groups right again his friendship with Dunbar are with Dubois and others is that he would be attentive to these sorts of things I argue so I’m anxious to kind of get back in the archives and see what that is Dunbar in England is seen by a black man makes the kind of cross-cultural analyses that were cut off far too early by his death at the age of 33 and he put him again in this more political orbit with these transnational new Negroes who were seeing blackness and black civil rights in the proto civil rights era as important work thank you you I’d like to say how happy I am to be here Jim Crow wasn’t traveling intruder a black interloper in all white spaces originally Jim Crow was a folk character featured in the rhyming games of slave children as the blackface minstrel character played by the white performer Thomas daddy rice Jim Crow was an uncuff uncultured humorously dangerous runaway slave insistent on barging in on the white world Jim Crow was an insistent traveler in Rice’s performances he could frequently be found riding an otherwise elegant trains streetcars and steamboats the minstrel performances were enormously popular with white audiences in the 1830s marking the consciousness of America with the image of the black intruder the racial segregation of public conveyances was designed to prevent the kind of transgression of the social order that the character Jim Crow frequently committed in minstrel performances the name Jim Crow became synonymous with the inferior racially segregated train cars designated for black passengers first in the antebellum north and then later in the postwar South the Jim Crow car was the place to shunt black passengers a place where the

uncivilized Negro of white imaginations could be prevented from mingling with whites as one judge argued racial segregation helped quote prevent contacts and collisions that came from a promiscuous City Paul Laurence Dunbar is career emerged from the shadow of Jim Crow Dunbar became the new voice of black artistic authenticity the preeminent black literary figure of his day like the character Jim Crow Dunbar reminded white Americans of the legacy of slavery slavery reviewers commented that the dusky singer was the son of slaves some even questioned if his use of dialect enslave tales and continue to question was a form of minstrel see but Dunbar hoped his audiences would quote differentiate dialects as a physiological branch from the burlesque of Negro minstrel early in his career Dunbar saw the use of dialect as a preservation of black language not a joke at black people’s expense dunbar the author served as a counterpoint to Antebellum minstrel minstrelsy through the nuance of his writing and the dignity of his recitations writing in opposition to the images created by Rice’s portrayal of Jim Crow Donna are presented the eloquent expression of a generation wedged between the promises of freedom and the disappointments of segregation Dunbar even offered an explanation for the grins and lies of the minstrel Jim Crow such performances were a mask that had anger disappointment and descent while Dunbar could challenge the limitations of Jim Crow and literature Jim Crow segregation and the boundaries of race repeatedly confronted Dunbar during his travels honorariums ticket sales and the sale of his books on tour supported Dunbar’s art and the needs of his family Dunbar delighted audiences both black and white but was forced to confront the demeaning practices of Jim Crow segregation his fame and success came at the moment when black citizenship was crumbling under the weight of disfranchisement lynching and the federal endorsement of segregation so the question becomes how did Dunbar dependent on travel for his livelihood negotiate the difficulties of segregation what strategies did Dunbar have to employ to maintain his dignity while riding with the specter of Jim Crow using the fragments of evidence available in his correspondence published essays and poetry this paper traces Dunbar’s experiences with travel while it is impossible to ascertain exactly how often Dunbar was subjected to the jim crow car this paper will gauge his response to the growing presence of segregation during his brief career in what ways did he seek to avoid the insult of racial segregation and how did he protest such conditions how to travel abroad contrasts with the treatment he got in America how did the difficulties of the road over time Dunbar’s health this page this paper will complicate our understandings of Dunbar’s life art and politics by tracing his daily struggle to be one of the best men of the race and the face of the worst social conditions for african-americans difficulties on trains were almost universal Jim Crow cars were an enactment of black travelers from their inception black Americans fought exclusion and inferior conditions on trains and streetcars dunbar did not explicitly trace his encounters with Jim Crow segregation in his correspondence he did what he did hint at relief when he was not subjected to the Jim Crow car he noted his not having been subjected to subrogation but never detailed the times that he rode in Jim Crow cars however given the places and times that he traveled it is unlikely that he always managed to avoid segregation this seems to this to suggest that for dunbar being subjected to segregation was routine or at least unexceptional while inclusion in the first class car was unusual and notable while Dunbar did not record his remembrances he his mentor Frederick Douglass faced of violence of segregation on his abolitionists speaking tours in 1840 15 railway workers accosted a young Frederick Douglass forcing him out of the car designated for white passengers booker t washington were counted that when Douglas was on a train ride through pennsylvania railroad officials forced Douglas to ride sitting on cargo in the baggage car when a white passenger tried to console Douglas for being quote degraded in this manner Douglas replied they cannot degrade Frederick Douglass the soul that is within me no man can degrade although restrictions on black travelers were formally set aside by state laws during republican reconstruction segregation and mistreatment continued successful

lobbying led to the passage of the federal civil rights act of 1875 which forbade racial discrimination of all despite this guarantee African Americans had increasing difficulty receiving equitable treatment and could not predict that they would encounter discrimination on any given journey the 1883 nullification of the Civil Rights Act opened the floodgates of formal and informal discriminatory policies african-americans contested this growing erosion of their rights nearly every African American you can think of from this time period had some encounter particularly out of us who had to cut out of the paper this fight to maintain black citizenship in the face of efforts to stifle its expression was a fight dunbar clearly supported in his stirring essay on the Wilmington race riot was such an ever Dunbar argued that quote a suffering people must not relinquish one single right that has been given them the rapacity of the other race encouraged by the yielding who ravaged them from every privilege that they possess passion and Prejudice are not sated by concession but grow by what they feed on blacks organized to oppose the passage of state segregation laws Dunbar saw this opposition as a crucial cause Mary Britain a black educator from Lexington Kentucky and the leader of the anti separate car coach movement spoke out in opposition to a proposed bill before the Kentucky legislature in 1890 like Dunbar Britain had attended racially integrated schools and believed that segregation was an unnecessary burden and a boundary that did not have to exist Britain was an outspoken graduate of Berea College one of the few southern institutions that admitted both black and white students and allowed them to participate in campus life on an equal basis Britain’s education had taught her to question the faulty logic of segregation Dunbar a native of nearby Ohio was moved by her efforts and most stirringly of her battle for quote real Liberty and her service to the race in the poem to miss Mary Britain despite the efforts of Britain and hundreds of others who Lodge vocal protests against the bill the Kentucky law was asked Plessy versus Ferguson was also a devastating blow to the efforts of african-americans to gain equal accommodations on the rails while the case endorsed separate but equal in reality conditions for black passengers particularly on southern trains were usually separate but never equal railroad investors wanted to avoid the expense of maintaining first class cars exclusively for black youths the Jim Crow car reserved for black passengers is often just the plainly appointed smoking car usually the dangerous first passenger car behind the engine smoke and soot filled the car made it hot loud and uncomfortable and social conditions were also course rough language drinking gambling and spitting were acceptable segregated riders usually had only one bathroom for both men and women and no water was provided for the hot cramped compartment in contrast to the plush velvet seating in an ornate wood of the first class ladies cars the conditions of the Jim Crow cars were bare boned although conductors avidly policed the color line in the first-class car white men entered the colored compartment at will with whiskey and use rude and profane language in front of black men and women and children but passengers road in second class cars those who protested were often beaten or violently ejected from the train sometimes a moving train not only were conditions on board awful when the train stopped black travelers had difficulty finding somewhere to eat use the restroom or find adequate lodging although Plessy legalized segregation state laws varied providing unknown conditions for Black Riders trains pass through multiple states requiring blacks to move in order to accommodate a changing racial order some southern rails segregated the majority of black passengers while adopting informal policies that dance the line of law by some time seeing a few elite black writers for example while riding in the fall of 1896 Dunbar boasting to his mother about this his success in Washington DC wrote that his through Virginia was quote very delightful and that he could quote look out from the luxurious coach all the way and did not want to have to take the Jim Crow car men and women of color were sometimes able to gain entrance to first-class accommodations if they were well dressed well behaved traveling with prominent whites or had special arrangements made on their behalf just four years later Virginia pass a law segregating the rails a journey through

the state would have been much more likely blighted by the specter of Jim Crow wealthy and prominent blacks often made special arrangements ahead of time by contacting railroad officials in advance Dunbar made such special arrangements through his attorney Paul all our Reynolds Dunbar wrote twice asking his attorney to quote push the matter with the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad and then asking a few weeks later if there were any further developments in the railroad matter Dunbar needed some special allowances perhaps of sleeping car set aside for his use in order to make his trip West Dunbar clearly did not have the ability to travel quickly he needed careful forethought planning and special dispensation but in the society deeply marked by race even these extraordinary allowances were a calculated risk and still represented a threat to the stability of white supremacy african-americans who rode the interstate rails devise strategies for improving segregated travel suggesting trains where segregation was less vicious lines on which the elite black writers would be allowed to travel first class and where the trains although still segregated offered equitable conditions for Black Riders Dunbar offered perhaps offers such a suggestion to his mother when he suggested she had better either take the Pennsylvania or big for that leaves Dayton about five o’clock in the afternoon familiar with the trip east perhaps Dunbar knew the lines that would be most accommodating and present the least amount of difficulty for his mother suffering from tuberculosis must have made travel much more difficult for dunbar in many ways travel was the Sioux of his lingering health difficulties constant colds and bouts of pneumonia turned into a battle with chronic disease by 1899 he suffered from active tuberculosis a disease that left him weekend in appearance and demonstrating the tell-tale signs of the affliction in fact fear of black disease was one of many arguments made by segregationists in favor of excluding blacks from public accommodations life on the road left Dunbar weekend and even more susceptible to the effects of his illness he was near death at least two times following long extensive travel he had difficulty writing and corresponding with his family and friends and business contacts even though his physician had encouraged him to rest and seek better air in the Adirondacks and then in the mountains of Colorado even rest was a burden at the height of his success he had difficulty mustering the strength to travel or the will to write alcoholism and separation from his wife left him isolated life on the road was one of the only ways of getting back on his feet over time this took a heavy toll on his health and spirit Dunbar wrote his mother in a strain letter about a very bad cold and commented quote it seems like travelling doesn’t agree with me despite his fame and prominence travel and all his challenges made life much more difficult for dunbar but in the best of times Dunbar clearly enjoyed his travels his journey to England appears to have been a turning point in his career he wrote of his excitement of being the toast of society and argued that all black should have time away from America because the restrictions from Jim Crow were not felt by black Americans abroad Dunbar also appears to have joined his trips west to Colorado letters to facilitate his care and his trip afforded by his doctor and accounts of his time the Colorado farmer finally recalled in his letters from the window of his train car as he quotes speeded toward denver across the wide Plains of Colorado Dunbar imagined not only the wealth and health Colorado offered for his consumption but also the possibility of open land and opportunity for the poor tragic sharecroppers of the South who found themselves quote deeper and deeper in debt unfettered travel away from the limitations of segregation live dunbar with a sense of hope and a sense of the possibilities for the race thank you in his poetry Dunbar sees sympathy for his people but he was disappointed in his own country yet today 100 years after his death damn bar should be happy to know in a different part of the world many many people have been reading him with empathy and sympathy the Chinese has have answered him we know why the page the bird sins I’m going to present to you a brief account of the Chinese reading of the black poet roughly speaking Dunbar’s presence in China can

be divided into three periods period one the first from 1920 which saw the publication of his first poem to 1949 which witnessed the founding of the people’s republic period number two from nineteen forty nine to nineteen seventy six when Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution ended period number three from 1976 to the present coincide with china’s opening up and the modernization i hope you will see the presence of them by in china really reflects a pattern in the century long process of the chinese response to african-american literature 119 22 1949 modern chinese literature is thought to have its start in 1919 but the introduction of foreign literature began at the turn of the century with the translation of alexandre dumas la dame or camellia and the Harry Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s then the impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin on Chinese mentality and sensibility was in estimable many Chinese came to know about black people for the first time we have plenty of testimonies that Chinese shed tears for black slaves in America it seems natural for the Chinese to bond with african-americans because the two people shared a similar condition of subjection as the Chinese were ruled by Manchurians and China had been bullied by Western powers again and again for the Chinese pigtails imposed on the head was a sign of servitude as much as the chains on the black body in June 1920s Shanghai magazine printed the translation of a poem konshens and the remorse them bars photo was attached there is nothing for them but to feel remorse as his poem marked the very first translation of African American poetry in Chinese Claude McKay and others would follow although he was to be outshined by some late comers Dunbar was usually praised in the Chinese articles reviews nodes and literary histories for instance in 1928 famous writer Joe Jensen noted them baths epoch-making contribution with oak and Ivy Dunbar rekindled the ashes of american black poetry which had started a hundred years before in 1932 another commentator tung chung schouten wrote of them bars form there are pictures in his poetry passionate in the imaginative pictures therefore his poems are able to move us into tears and leave us in deep thought and the tongue wrote of them bars matter he gave voice to the week attacking all forms of inequalities ratio social and political numbers ultimate test without fully realizing his talent was regretted as the saddest thing in 1935 a prominent leader in the new literary movement ssangyong being surveying the field recognized Dunbar as the founder of black poetry ranking him either number one or number two in the southern literary arena he complained in the 16 vol anthology of Southern literature members name was not even mentioned Lance Lynn Hughes with Shanghai in 1934 he was welcomed as celebrity fresh from soviet russia he met young writers on the left and talked about african-american literature his essay Negro artist and the racial Mountain was timely translated and it tells the Chinese of the hardships black artists faced using Dunbar as an example their road is rocky and the mountain is high Lucian the standard bearer of the new revolutionary literature was the first to advocate for translation of works from oppressed peoples with when a fellow poet compare come when a fellow poet compelled American black poetry as small worms rippling under the foot of the world’s great poetry Lucian felt offended personally and criticized him for Lord in the white and belittling the

black Lucian declared despite the Chinese rich and their lackeys my voice has come out and the likewise black poetry has also gone beyond the Anglo combines Lucian did not mention them by name but it was well known that then bar was among the first African American poets when he international recognition them buzz poems along with those of those by Hughes McKay tumor Cullen and others appeared in Chinese in newspapers in collections his songs could have continued to please Chinese audience had the China Japan war not broken out now the mood of the Chinese turned patriotic and the fiery Dunbar’s lyric became out of tune in 1943 how it one who was so excited by Mukesh if we must die that he had the poem translated at once in order to boost the national morale 35 years later in his preface to mckays autobiography huang who still remembers how much he was impressed by my case home of anger rebellion and militancy and his unique use of dialect in contrast he criticized them bomb them baths dialect was white people’s mouthpiece used only to perpetuate the fallacy that blacks an inferior race huang was not alone among the Chinese to have been confounded by ten bars mask wondering at this curious contradiction a suffering black yet intend on a professional political career second period nineteen forty nine to nineteen seventy six after founding of people’s republic in nineteen forty nine ten bar was basically neglected and the misunderstood according to Gemma mal literature is but the reflection of class struggle and should serve political purposes soviet russia literary theories also held sway in china black writers could be conveniently classified into categories the revolutionary the progressive the conservative and the reactionary only those who penned protest literature were respected then bar fell quiet occasionally his name was found in encyclopedic entries copied from the soviet editions the different approaches to address the black cause for freedom and right between two boys and the booker t washington was seen as irreconcilable polarities riders were judged by which camp decided with wenn du Bois and the Shirley Graham visit China they were greeted as comrades in arms Shirley Graham lectured on black literature to college students she told young Chinese then bar was a rare find by white while attending elevator in hotel his dialect poem are unique moving and the humorous but as soon as Dunbar desired to protest and speak up the white withdraw their endorsement Shelley grams biography of Douglas there was a slave was timely translated into Chinese it was Douglas not damn bar that offered a brilliant model for the American black people period number three the third period covers the last three decades from 1976 to the present since most tests and the ending of the catastrophe catastrophe Cultural Revolution in 1976 China has since embarked upon a new direction of reform and opening-up to the world the modernization process has prompted an unprecedented in interest for foreign literature as part of the common heritage of the human race african-americans incredible experience and their unique imaginative representation became a valuable source for the eager Chinese the sign of the unfreezing came with the discussion on Alex Haley’s roots in 1977 our American african-american literature soon became a regular college course in 1978 a modest history of American literature appeared tomba ended his long way to get

his due in this American literary annals written by the Chinese he is officially conferred the title and outstanding writer though the editors emphasized that the reactionary tradition of the plantation literature left a harmful influence Anton bar and the chestnut in some of his poems racial discrimination is overlooked and the old-time plantation is painted as paradise but he’s better poems such as Frederick Douglass to Ethiopia the colored soldier and so on appraised and the famous sympathy and we wear the mask analyzed to show the poet steps in 1983 a collection of 15 stories by 12 black writers appeared with the title the sheriff children and anthology of black American stories but on the cover the main author’s name is Paul Laurence Dunbar inside the first story is the lingen of do Benson this is Dunbar’s first story and also then so far the only story that translated into Chinese as for his poetry a great number have found their way into the hearts of the Chinese in 1981 a literary magazine printed two lyrics dong and the dead the translation is good but the translators made half the error in the PostScript saying them bar worked as crane hoist operator to satisfy the Chinese first and thirsty for the sweet bitter taste of modern life innumerable collections of lyrics by the world’s famous poets were published them bars name can be found alongside Shakespeare Sunday Curt hina toys toy Pushkin Whitman Dickinson Langston Hughes at least in two books about the art of love letter writing the Chinese get a glimpse of them bars heart secret damn bar who failed in his own marriage could offer a few tips for the Chinese on this ever perplexing subject we need only imagine the tears of those Chinese who are also susceptible to these lines little girl there has been not the day when with heartache I have not longed for you don’t you remember when we used to say that we had married for eternity in 1991 a u.s commemorative stamp featuring them bars portrait was noted in FL Utley magazine with an introduction 90 years ago book t washington slide up from slavery was made known to the chinese now the self-made dunbar too has a success story to share with the over achieving chinese more serious academic discourse have appeared in the last decade Temba is often included in the discussions especially on the hot topics of Harlem Renaissance the plantation tradition double consciousness and the theories of speech and representation and so on uniting in 2003 dissertation the author borrowed from Houston Baker and called the sport of God at the best Blue Book blues book at 2004 Conference of Yanjing Harvard scholars Jung to the chain defended them bar citing we were the mask in food to show the poet was expressing anger and indignation instead of an Uncle Tom sentiment as shown in the poems of Lucy Terry and Jupiter Hammond in an excellent essay on the connection between black dance and the black cultural tradition we are told mayor because of America’s unique historical background the black living as a slave did not even have the right to express the false rightly his own sorrows and suffering so he had to resort to his singing and dancing he’s being funny and playful or and in direct means of

expression of in the most of his heart just as famous American black writer Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote his famous lines we were happy mask because we have no right to be sorrowful the intimate and inaccurate quotation can only be explained by the author’s familiarity with african-american art so much so he or she simply took it for granted in evoking the poet for an insightful observation this article is probably the spring head of several cases of this misquoted couplet one widely circulated sa spring summer autumn and winter registered the sentimental reflections on the passage of time by today’s high school and seniors and college high school seniors and College sophomores in a moment of trying to define the meaning of happiness the Speaker of the essay says all of a sudden I’m reminded of the answer offered by F American black writer than bar we wear the happy mask so we have no right to be sorrowful the wording is identical with above-mentioned the dance article except because become so the distinction between cause and the effect seems now to be no matter as if all the differences between Tampa and his young Chinese lovers are rendered inconsequential it is this human dignity and human capacity behind the mask that authorized the Chinese to appropriate the black poet so effortlessly so confidently and so unconsciously in 2002 a set of four volumes of the new history of American literature was published by group of Nanjing professors they took pride in claiming a unique Chinese perspective a whole of 10 pages it’s devoted to dunbar discussing his title his life and his work this study informs the Chinese leaders of many scholars in America who called into question and oversimplified interpretation of them bar his poetry may well contain veiled criticism of racism and his sophistication might have simply proved to be beyond the white comprehension when these Chinese professors and their discussion by saying a deeper and further reading of them by is required in order to reach a real understanding of the poet they are articulating a global challenge literature and scholarship transcend boundaries then bar belong to the world it’s up to them to them bar friends here and everywhere else to meet this challenge and the as we are winding up this conference may I add one sentence to this paper which finished several months ago folks you have done not bad at all I really think that we should you know acknowledge a wonderful job done by this panel again please thank you thank you for this challenges thank you for the celebration and thank you for the encouragement of looking at dunbar anew and then she’s of timeless move quickly noun to questions from you Blair I wonder if you would talk a little bit about the kind of earning potential that Dunbar head before grounded for us just how dangerous riding the trains would have been for a man who needed the trains to make a living so if you could even suggest to us perhaps what kind of money he was making on I’m these lecture tours and perhaps suggest us I don’t know what would have been some of the expenses incurred to travel the letters that are part of the collection the paw Laurence Dunbar collection from Ohio’s historical have a lot of correspondence between Dunbar and attorneys and agents around the country a lot of them sort of saying well we’re going to split this one we’re going to keep forty dollars you keep forty dollars some of his fancier gatherings were probably as much as $85 he could have earned from a recitation he bragged to his mother and a letter the wealthy folks want to hear me and I can make fifty cents ahead and so because she was questioning whether he needed to get a job or and he was

making this argument or traveling instead as a means and selling the books he when he recalled meeting Frederick Douglass he’s like any bought my book and he said he would buy more in the future so he was it was a building a career as a professional was very difficult and required this travel and when he becomes sick you see the difficulty of figuring out how to earn a living if he’s very ill he doesn’t have the energy to ride he doesn’t have the spirit to ride and traveling really wore him down over time someone else yes please sandy I’m not going to stand I’d like to ask good Chinese professor how did he first become interested in Paul or in steinbach it’s a long story and the what I was on the faculty of picking University in China i came to the united states in 1985 doing first visiting for one year and then I did my PhD at the Stonybrook and the why was I was in China and the I was assigned to study English by the by teachers and teachers was instructed by their superiors and superiors of the college was we were everybody was supposed to to do what you are told to do and the I was one of brightest student and we have to choose our own field and the Saudi son I my I didn’t finish them I didn’t have a chance to go to a senior high school I just finished my junior high school and then but I was in the army and I was selected to go to Peking University directly and didn’t know much about literature at all but I was made into this field so I have I think I thought I might choose african-american writers and the nobody know about them and then we all started from scratch and in china tea itself thesis that year and then also i started to you know if I wanted to choose other great classic writers I couldn’t compete with my classmates it’s a new field african-american literature so Mayans started there and then but I was doing then I pursued my interest in doing this history of China’s reception of the American literature and of course then it dawned on me I didn’t know at that time african-american the teacher occupied such a central spot in the history of American literature accident result is it there so it had a matter of course I interested in black writers and the Tampa was one of while I was in China I collected material data and all these things then bar happened to be one of the earliest duelist writers to be mentioned introduced to the Chinese and that’s all thank you okay okay right right behind you said hi I don’t know names this question for Blair as well so you talked a little bit about I to be Wells you’d said you’d had to remove from the paper and you also talked a little bit in the beginning about Dunbar sort of reminding white White’s about slavery and so knowing what I know about some of your other work I wonder if you could talk about how his experience of Jim Crow transportation might have been gendered or colored or both compared to what other people might have been experiencing on the trains the larger body of my work explores the way in which men and women have different life experiences on the trains because the train itself is gendered that the first class car is called the lady’s car and men who are in that lady’s car either very elite or accompanying a woman and the white man’s space is the whole train right so he can go through the luxurious space you can go to the lurid space if he wants to be more lurid and so if it poses a problem for black men and to argue for inclusion and so because men don’t need special treatment why can’t a man just stay anywhere so women were some of the more effective protesters against segregation because they could argue to be ladies so I to be

Wells is arguing her her dignity even as she bites the hand of the conductor who tries to turn away from space and so Anna color is also an interesting thing because there’s a lot of passing there’s a woman named hook from Texas who passes and has outed by a black worker on the train and and it’s wedged literally between the black and white car and she rides the entire journey in between the white but black oh my gosh she’s pregnant she miscarries shih tzus and wednes damages I’m so passing was something that people did all the time to sort of slip past because in many ways whites were most afraid to ask someone are you but because you know that was a terrible insult to ask a white person and a woman in New Orleans a place where this happened frequently was confronted and said that she was accused of being black and she was actually white and she won five hundred dollars worth of damages in the court for being called a black person haha I think it was a hand right behind you yes this question is to Blair I was doing some research on the letters that down by wrote to his future wife Alice more and he was attending this writer’s conference with the Western writers association in Indiana and he was talking about how comfortable they made him feel that he didn’t think in any in terms of his blackness while he was there now did you get it my question to you is did you get any sense that his fellow writers of the Western writers association might have been supportive in his travels or his friends the right the Wright brothers of aviation fame that they might have been helpful I don’t know about the Wright brothers but I do know that he wrote of people frequently he I found letters of introduction in his papers where people would say this is paul laurence dunbar he’s a great poet he’s black genius you know don’t be rude to him or treat him well or he has tuberculosis he needs your care and so he had often time had prominent whites right on his behalf to sort of introduce him pay the way and give him some some rights on the trains and so elite status for blacks is very precarious at the time you have to sort of establish i am not a regular black man i need something special because blacks aren’t riding the trains that frequently they’re writing streetcars they’re protesting the segregation Street carts in mass beginning in 1900 they do it at the turn of reconstruction in 1860s they have these enormous sit-ins all over the urban south so they poor working-class whites are concerned about segregation I’m not saying it’s just an elite concern but elite blacks are probably the only people riding the trains AME bishops and ministers going to conferences and journalists and people like dunbar booker t washington Dubois they all have bad moments on the train given the need of dunbar to constantly traveled throughout the year through all kinds of weather storming weather winter freezing and given the fact that the windows of these cars were frequently broken out not only by hostile people but just not up kept and given the fact that at least to my understanding there was constantly urine splashing up and down the hall of the walkways because they refused to clean out the toilet facilities do you think that those conditions in fact caused Dunbar’s tuberculosis um it’s hard you know because I am they not a medical historian and all I’ve been working on that because of Dunbar’s illness but what I can say is it couldn’t have made him any healthier because these were deeply unhealthy places at George Washington cable has like this amazing essay about how awful and disgusting the train cars were where blacks were forced to ride and how there is no option there is no middle choice and that separate but equal is a farce and so all of that had to wear on his health I mean he was already weakened he was weakening himself through alcohol and so all of those things are really bad being cold being in unsanitary conditions Alice Dunbar Nelson’s published journal gives us answers to or places to find answers for two of the kinds of things we’ve been talking about the trains and the money she was traveling all over the south speaking to women’s clubs staying in people’s homes she commented you know on the quality the food that these ladies would serve her you know what kind of house they had etc and these were the club women but one of the things she apparently did a lot of

traveling by passing and she said she traveled otha au f AIT because she had a master’s degree in French but she was traveling like an ofay is what she was telling me she was passing as a Creole of color because I’ll sunburn Nelson wasn’t Creole of color she was just very light-skinned um and in New Orleans you had to be descendant from these free people you had to be french-speaking you know by birth and she doesn’t have that birth so she’s passing in multiple oh she’s I very dusty but the fact that she called it Oh fit in from 80 French term to you know which is because you know black code black English good but the and so she would write this in her journal when she has successfully done this and she was parently was never challenged but the other thing is that she was so strapped for money all the time that she records amounts which might give us an idea of what the lecture circuit was like at her level she was as I said yesterday the official widow and was well treated but always had to stay in somebody’s home and maybe she would get you know then they would pay her fare and she would they would slip her five bucks for and then she’d had to you know go back and traveling overnight very often which is why one of the reasons why pass because then she could have a sleeping car but she there the that were talking 1920s now not the first decade of the century and all these numbers are so small to us that it’s hard you know to realize to know how much inflation there was but she would consider it worth her a while to go from Wilmington to Delaware to the deep south and back for a five dollar honorarium plus you know the not necessarily well taken care of hospitality that tells us something also Thank You professor saying I think your aunt is up you know done but being a transnational new Negro and his references to his sojourn in England have come up ginger at quoted a line which reminded me very much of what Richard Wright said later about Paris that he experienced more freedom in one block of Paris than in all of the United States and the voice in 1937 in Nazi Germany feeling more freedom than he felt in the United States of the 1930s traveling but the just in case you think that Blair’s paper with not transnational I just wanted to in the spirit of Sheila Lee’s exhortation you know think about the moment that many of you know from you know the van Kingsley role in attenborough’s movie one of the early scenes is how Gandhi gets thrown out of the train in South Africa and he you know prepares himself in serves by wearing a three-piece suit and he’s become a barrister in London and he by the first class ticket but that doesn’t help him but again you know in Indian history the British historians like the fall 1857 the mutiny the Indian historians like to call it the first war of independence and if you go into the early part of the century with you know Niagara movement and the n-double-a-cp similar things were happening just a few miles from here a movement called gather which of Indian revolutionaries in the bay area and they were all prosecuted and many of them were executed and there was a Hindu German conspiracy during World War one where the Germans were helping to destabilize the british empire in india and they were spending millions of dollars and again both the Germans and the Indians involved and it were got caught and 46 of them prosecuted and many of them were you know we might be able to entertain a couple so they signed up for transnational you know residence here all kinds of ways thank you sir right in front yes ma’am I like to ask as fascinating as the trains are can I ask you a question about how he came to know this other poet I think he said Richard to me and can you talk a little bit about the position of being part of the conquest and yet obviously not in the Philippines you mean yeah again in Dunbar’s travels one of the places often

times he would speak would be in colored soldiers homes you know again this idea that he was you know his father had served and you know again I think but for his health he probably would have served also so my sense is that he ran into to me probably I don’t know the exact location or time that they that they met and you know that question about you know conquest or colonization this this idea about immigration and colonizing blacks that went you know all the way up through and alongside say back to Africa movements so is it you know generated by blacks themselves is it generated by the state and whatnot so this question of you know whether blacks are behaving as colonizers of course they are you know they’re in the military and there you know going to pacify or you know in in the Caribbean down in New Mexico in the Pacific Rim but there is a sense in which particularly the Philippines they understand that there is perhaps the potential solidarity with black Americans who are suffering under a kind of racial you know segregation so even in Manila for example Walter Howard loving was a black band leader you know as a high-ranking officer in the US military runs the Philippines Constabulary band so he’s working with Filipino musicians is not allowed to enter officers clubs white officers clubs in the islands so you know there is that sense in which the color line is still being carried across in the Philippines and so Filipino soldiers and others see this is why you with these guys you know they’re not giving you much to go on but you know black soldiers were participating in these wars for all sorts of reasons money and pensions and adventure get off the you know plantations and whatnot so you know it’s it’s still a vexing question that I you know I go around and around on all the time and so I’m really just looking at the council soldiers and as much as I can Filipinos themselves who see again a potential solidarity or a chance that’s lost by black soldiers participating in these wars of conquest thank you we’ve been allowed to have to accept one more question so yes please I just curious about the this western aspect of dunbar man we’ve talked about the fact that he did identify himself as a westerner although he was forced to identify himself as a southerner so can you just talk a little bit more about the Western travels and the visit to Colorado or yeah just kind of fill us in more about that if you will thank you yeah again as I said you know was kind of on doctor’s orders that he went out to Colorado but you know again you know hiyo in certain times could be seen as the West rights I think there was always that connection of seeing himself as a westerner of sorts and so kind of moving further out he he really had a great time in Colorado and would have stayed if he you know had more money again always the kind of question of money being an issue there just were more engagements that he could speak to in the East but you know it’s interesting and I want you know to know more about myself about his time in Colorado he befriended many folks out there he was offered a job at the Denver Post to be a correspondent you know to report on different events going on in the Denver area and out in the plains so you know again you know seeing also what are the the kind of connections the dunbar head to the land you know he Addison Gail writes about love of Landry which he says is not a very good novel but it does you know kind of talk about these splits between urban and rural you know west and east and that sort of thing so I think he again it’s both the source of tremendous imagination you know he sees it as a wonderful place but also frustration because he’s not really able to take advantage of it because of his ill health so he he was out there I think about nine months he was out there for a tremendously long time and what like to have gone back you know again if health had allowed for it but again i’m interested in really kind of looking at that the connection the cross cultural connections you know there were blind spots a lot of times in black american writing about native americans and to just kind of see you know what relationship how he would talk about land and native americans and so I’m just kind of looking for if anyone knows where some of that stuff would be Paul Laurence Dunbar was a deeply spiritual person but he saw a religion as a social and political institution and he had

followed the dictates of society and literature at the time and had written about the savages of the west and when he went to harmon colorado which is now incorporated in the city of denver he found the Native American culture to embrace nature as the cathedral that he found he felt like he was in his natural cathedral when he was in God’s greater outdoors and when he found a whole culture that revolved around it he surrendered and became a part of that culture and in doing so he did not rest during the day he practiced shooting bows and fishing and smoking pipes and things that perhaps he should not have done but and as a result his purpose for being in Colorado was not to explore the Native American culture but to live in the higher elevation so that his lungs would heal themselves and he did not rest sufficiently so when he returned he still had tuberculosis and I just like to add one more thing I’ve heard a lot about his alcoholism and I’m very sensitive to that I’d like to add that i would rather think of his alcoholism if alcoholism was the better description was medically induced you see early on well all too often I hear it referred to in a very Cavalier manner as though he was just one who stopped alcohol dunbar early on took a raw onion and a can of a glass of beer every day as a home remedy against the formation of tuberculosis in your body and he thought that would get him well he did that for about a year and he had his illness at a time when there were no antibiotics and there were no sufficient pain medications either and the hemorrhaging was getting worse as his condition worsened that’s why he had to stop doing recycles toward the end and he went to the men’s room he spat at the bloody cleared his throat and then he went into his cane where he carried a flask of whiskey and he took the whole thing down and then put it put the empty flashback in his cane and he assumed good posture and he got ready to walk out and that’s when people got the quiff of the fresh alcohol and there came the innuendo can you smell that that’s my concern about the alcohol thank you so very much in context you are a wonderful resource thank you okay we think the panel is one more time boiling I seven the preceding program is copyrighted by Stanford University please visit us at stanford.edu