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Emphasizes several major writers from Reconstruction to beginning of 20th century, concluding with W.E.B. DuBois's The Souls of Black Folk . Concentrating on evolution of African American fiction and poetry as well as political and social discourses on "race," explores how authors such as Frances E.W. Harper, Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Booker T. Washington, and DuBois shaped the foundation for 20th-century African American literary art and aesthetics.