Since the early nineteenth century, when white southern writers began to defend slavery, relationships between blacks and whites became a central concern in southern literature. Many nineteenth-and early-twentieth-century works by white writers exacerbated racial prejudice by reproducing southern white society's racist ideology. But other southern writers, both white and black, have attempted to redress this problem by using literature to dismantle stereotypes and to imagine new relationships. The results of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement speeded up the process, suggesting new plots, new endings, and new points of view to southern writers of both races.

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Copyright © 2002 Louisiana State University. This chapter first appeared in The Companion to Southern Literature.

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