Mules and Men

Feel Beauty Supply, post 11

Zora the Academic

I have to remind myself regularly that Mules and Men was officially intended as an anthropological project, a collection of Black American folklore, which was constructed to appear innocuous to a white reading public interested in the aesthetic “primitivism” of Black culture, rather than the manual for aesthetic practice as political resistance that I find it to be.

Folklorist Susan Meinhelder in her essay “Conflict and Resistance in Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Mendescribes that upon publication white readership received Mules and Men as “a straightforward, nonthreatening depiction of the humorous and exotic side of Black culture in the rural South.”

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