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Black American Literature and the Problem of Racism, Slavery and Oppression in the Post Slavery Era: A Reappraisal of Dunbar’s <i>The Sport of the Gods</i>

MS Ogene


The problem created by racism could be traced to be the major factor behind most Black literature through the ages. In America, this gave rise to a new form of literary expression known as the Black American Literature or African American Literature. The main concern of this sub-genre of literature is to redeem the face of the black man and his culture from the negative to a more positive direction. This study reappraises the development of Black American Literature from the 18th century writers, like Phyllis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano, to Post slavery era writers, especially of an author like Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Focusing on Dunbar’s The Sport of the Gods, the paper  exposes a sad situation where the blacks were made the spectacle (sport) of the whites (gods). Berry Hamilton (a Black American) is used in this novel to share the life story and experiences of other blacks with the readers  especially about their encounters with their Slave Masters.

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eISSN: 1595-1413