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Escape from New YorkThe New Negro Renaissance beyond Harlem$
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Davarian L. Baldwin and Minkah Makalani

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677382

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677382.001.0001

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New Negro Marriages and the Everyday Challenges of Upward Mobility

New Negro Marriages and the Everyday Challenges of Upward Mobility

(p.291) 12 New Negro Marriages and the Everyday Challenges of Upward Mobility
Escape from New York

Anastasia Curwood

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the ideal of male breadwinning among New Negroes by focusing on two upwardly mobile spouses who confronted divergent visions of gender roles in marriage: the author’s grandparents, Sarah and James Curwood. Like other New Negroes, the Curwoods were caught up in a movement toward self-determination through racial pride and upward mobility, but at the same time experienced painful negotiations over evolving gender roles. Their divergent expectations are particularly revealing in that they embody the competing tensions over husbands’ and wives’ roles in the early twentieth century. The story of their marriage shows the impact of cultural expectations within the most intimate of human relationships and exposes a major fissure in the construction of New Negro identities.

Keywords:   male breadwinning, spouses, gender roles, marriage, self-determination, upward mobility, New Negro marriage

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