chapter  1
Pages 13

This project explores how one African American novel published before the Civil Rights/Black Power Movements and two novels published after those movements demonstrate the development of an African consciousness. This African consciousness is the by-product of African survivals emerging in the multicultural arena of the United States. It will apply Du Bois’ theory of the Negro’s historical drive to reconcile his dual consciousness-one African and one American-through analysis of the ways the novels’ Black male protagonists’ searches for identity are presented, as well as identify African cultural survivals, or “Afrikan” cultural markers, in the more recent novels. Such consciousness neither detracts from nor replaces the American consciousness. Instead, it expands upon African Americans’ potential, enlarging the scope of their humanity, and ultimately their American-ness. This expanded consciousness of one’s African cultural heritage, especially in the historical context where that African background has sig-nified nothing but negative meanings, indicates a positive change in group esteem and cultural awareness. Such cultural markers as explored in this research, when expressed in the novel form, bring added richness, depth, and originality to the African American’s “message for the world.”