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Critical Insights:
Civil Rights Literature, Past and Present

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From the flawed notion of "separate but equal" instituted with the Plessy v. Ferguson decision to the rampant violence against the Black community that marked much of U.S. history, the United States has been plagued with a racial divide that we still work to redress today. In response, on August 28, 1963, noted orator and civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech on the Lincoln Memorial, urging swift social and political change in a society marred by a rich history of disenfranchisement and discrimination. Since then, we have largely recognized this speech as a symbol of the enduring struggle for equal rights and the pursuit of the core values upon which the not-so united United States was based. Issues of race, however, are only part of the civil rights debate still taking place. Vital conversations must also take place regarding gender discrimination, classism, and the anti-LGBTQIA+ agenda, among other critical issues that define so much of life in what King once described as this "inescapable network of mutuality." This edited volume, Critical Insights: Civil Rights Literature, Past & Present, edited by Dr. Christopher Allen Varlack in 2017, attempts to expand the conversation by calling attention to the diverse range of civil rights issues at the heart of U.S. literatures across genre and across time. The volume features twenty critical essays in addition to chronologies on race, gender, and sexual identity.

Publication Date: February 2017
ISBN: 978-1-68217-268-1