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Grant number like: FA-55357-10

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Glenda E. Gilmore
Yale University (New Haven, CT 06510-1703)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2010 – 6/30/2011

The Homeland of His Imagination: Romare Bearden's Southern Odyssey

I will write a short book on five generations of the African American artist Romare Bearden's family, going back to his great-grandfather, who was enslaved to Woodrow Wilson's father. Grounded in the broad sweep of African American history from Emancipation to the Civil Rights Movement, I will document the family from traditional sources, most of which came to my notice when writing my two previous books, Gender and Jim Crow and Defying Dixie. The Beardens played bit parts in those books, but their family story is a compelling saga of middle-class black achievement in the face of wave after wave of white supremacy. Although I will ground the book in history, I will also try to get at history by using Bearden's works as an alternative archive. He called his work "the homeland of my imagination," and my analysis of it will be neither purely biographical nor art historical. Thinking about Bearden's art as an archive can offer a unique perspective on history and memory.