Date of Award

5-1-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Georgene Bess-Montgomery

Second Advisor

Dr. Alma Vinyard

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to bring to the forefront the importance of black humor in the lives of African-Americans. The cultural roots of black humor began in Africa and were transported to America where Africans were forced to live as an enslaved people. Humor is a defining factor which contributed to the survival of blacks living in an oppressed state. Black people continue to live in survival mode and the researcher evaluates how black humor is a significant component to overcoming a life of adversity. All genres of literature evolve from one generation to the next. The genre of black humor is no different. This study will disclose how the dynamics of black humor evolve from the days of the enslaved entertaining the plantation masters, to the era of minstrelsy, and into the twentieth century with the rise of black comedy. Each period of black humor will demonstrate the profound effect humor has in the lives of black people.

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