Bitter fruit : African American women in World War II

Format: Print Book ©1999.
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - East Liberty Non-Fiction Collection D810.N4 B4 1999
Location  CLP - East Liberty
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  D810.N4 B4 1999
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction D810.N4 B4 1999
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  D810.N4 B4 1999
Penn Hills Library - Lincoln Park Non Fic 940.54 BIT
Location  Penn Hills Library - Lincoln Park
Collection  Non Fic
Call Number  940.54 BIT
Despite the participation of African American women in all aspects of home-front activity during World War II, advertisements, recruitment posters, and newsreels portrayed largely white women as army nurses, defense plant workers, concerned mothers, and steadfast wives. This sea of white faces left for posterity images such as Rosie the Riveter, obscuring the contributions that African American women made to the war effort. In Bitter Fruit, Maureen Honey corrects this distorted picture of women's roles in World War II by collecting photos, essays, fiction, and poetry by and about black women from the four leading African American periodicals of the war period: Negro Digest, The Crisis, Opportunity and Negro Story.

Most appearing for the first time since their original publication, the materials in Bitter Fruit feature black women operating technical machinery, working in army uniforms, entertaining audiences, and pursuing an education. The articles praise the women's accomplishments as pioneers working toward racial equality; the fiction and poetry depict female characters in roles other than domestic servants and give voice to the bitterness arising from discrimination that many women felt.

This anthology contains works from more than one hundred writers, the majority of them African American. Of particular note are poems and short stories anthologized for the first time, including Ann Perry's first story, Octavia Wynbush's last work of fiction, and three poems by Harlem Renaissance writer Georgia Douglas Johnson. Uniting these various writers was their desire to write in the midst of a worldwide military conflict with dramatic potential for ending segregation and opening doors forwomen at home.

Traditional anthologies of African American literature jump from the Harlem Renaissance to the 1960s with little or no reference to the decades in between. Bitter Fruit not only illuminates the literature of these decades but also presents an image of b

War work
Racism on the home front
The double victory campaign
Popular culture and the arts.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Honey has collected essays, short stories, and poems that convey the pain, frustration, and anger suffered by black women during World War I, women who have been overlooked in the heroic portrayals of that war. Much of the material is reprinted from black publications of the time: The Crisis, Opportunity, Negro Story, and Negro Digest. While the war opened work and career opportunities for white women, black women saw only marginal improvement in their role as the nation's domestics. Like black men, they were relegated to the dirtiest, least desirable, and most dangerous jobs. And though white women looked forward to a return to domesticity after the war, black women faced an uncertain future with embittered men who had fought a war for freedom in Europe while blacks continued to face racism at home. The collection conveys the sacrifice and service rendered by African Americans in the midst of continued discrimination. Among the authors included in the collection are James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Chester Himes, and Gwendolyn Brooks, as well as factory workers. --Vanessa Bush"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Subjects World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- United States.
African American women -- History -- 20th century.
Publisher Columbia :University of Missouri Press,©1999.
Contributors Honey, Maureen, 1945-
Language English
Notes Chiefly material reprinted from The crisis, Opportunity, Negro digest, and Negro story.
Description xix, 401 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 383-390) and indexes.
ISBN 0826212425 (alk. paper)
0826212654 (pbk.)
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