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Bulldaggers, Pansies, and Chocolate Babies: Performance, Race, and Sexuality in the Harlem RenaissanceJames F. Wilson 2010
James F. Wilson has based his rich cultural history on a wide range of documents from the period, including eyewitness accounts, newspaper reports, songs, and play scripts, combining archival research with an analysis grounded in a cultural studies framework that incorporates both queer theory and critical race theory. Throughout, he argues against the widely held belief that the stereotypical forms of black, lesbian, and gay show business of the 1920s prohibited the emergence of distinctive new voices. Figuring prominently in the book are African American performers including Gladys Bentley, Ethel Waters, and Florence Mills, among others, and prominent writers, artists, and leaders of the era, including Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, Zora Neale Hurston, and W. E. B. Du Bois. The study also engages with contemporary literary critics, including Henry Louis Gates and Houston Baker.
"James F. Wilson uncovers fascinating new material on the Harlem Renaissance, shedding light on the oft-forgotten gay and lesbian contributions to the era's creativity and Civil Rights. Extremely well researched, compellingly written, and highly informative."
—David Krasner, author of A Beautiful Pageant: African American Theatre, Drama, and Performance in the Harlem Renaissance, 1910-1927