Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name





During the last two decades, the South has been the battleground for the conflicting opinions attendant upon her cultural awakening. These diverging beliefs, revealing themselves in attitudes toward her tradi tional patterns, have found expression in her fiction which has increased phenomenally in recent years. These beliefs have affected in several instances the treatment of this fiction dealing with various phases of Southern life. It is the possibility of a new imaginative approach, born of these attitudes, toward the Negro, who has been a stock figure in Southern literature, that has been the subject of this thesis, which is but a division of a larger study now in progress, at Atlanta, University. This study is to determine what change the last twenty years have wrought in the treatment accorded the Negro in fiction by Southern whites. The Negro in ,American literature has already been the subject of much valuable research. There has preceded this examination innumerable articles including W. S. Braithwaite’s “The Negro in American Literaturd’ (1925), H. P. Marley’s “The Negro in Southern Literature” (1928), and Benjamin Brawley’s “The Negro in Contemporary Literature” (1929), and such studies as Francis Pendleton Gaines’ The Southern Plantation (1925), John Herbert Nelson’s The Negro Character in American Literature (1926), Elizabeth Lay Green’s The Negro in Contemporary American Literature (1928), Nick Aaron Ford’s The Contemporary Negro Novel (1936), Sterling Brown’s The Negro in American Fiction (1937), and Willie Lou Talbot’s Master’s thesis, “The Development of the Negro Character in the Southern Novel, 1824—1900” (1938). None of these, however, has limited itself to the province of the present thesis in which the treatment of the Negro is devoted to the 11 11]~ fiction of a single state, published between 1920—1940. .An attempt has been made to examine all available novels and a few selected short stories written by North Carolina writers within the prescribed period. The main bases used in identifying an author with a state are birth or present residence within the state. If, however, an author is claimed by more than one state, as in the case of Howard Odum, born in Georgia, birth takes precedent. The writer wishes to acknowledge indebtedness to the Atlanta Univer sity Library for aid in procuring fictional materials, to the University of North Carolina and Duke University libraries for assistance in the compilation of a useful bibliography.