The Indignant Generation is the first narrative history of the neglected but essential period of African American literature between the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights era. Writers such as Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, and James Baldwin rose to prominence during this period, but little attention has been paid to the political and artistic milieu in which they produced their greatest works.
Looking at the tumultuous decades surrounding World War II, Jackson restores the "indignant" quality to a generation of African American writers shaped by Jim Crow segregation, the great Depression, the growth of American communism, and an international wave of decolonization. He also reveals how artistic collectives in New York, Chicago, and Washington fostered a sense of destiny and belonging among diverse and disenchanted peoples.
Fully exploring the cadre of key African American writers who triumphed in spite of segregation, The Indignant Generation paints a vivid portrait of American intellectual and artistic life in the mid-twentieth century.
Lawrence P. Jackson is professor of English and African American studies at Emory University. He is the author of Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius and a forthcoming biography of Chester Himes. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and holds graduate degrees from Ohio State University and Stanford University.