From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Finna: writing young Blacks into the future



Black children’s temporality goes against the grain of US-American white time: while the nation celebrates its unique ability for new beginnings in an exceptionalist narrative that sutures Americanness and youth, young Blacks’ time is defined by the recursivity of anti-Black violence and the ongoing time of slavery. The article investigates the textual strategies and tropes through which the temporality of Black youth is represented in literature that aims to narrate the coming of age of a young Black person. Frederick Douglass’ and Harriet Jacobs’ slave narratives, written at a time when the Emancipation Project seemed to be looming on the horizon, are analyzed together with two contemporary Young Adult coming-of-age novels, written in the wake of Black protests denouncing that liberation is not yet accomplished, Nic Stone’s Dear Martin (2017) and its sequel, Dear Justyce (2020).


Black time, Black youth, futurity, coming-of-age narratives, afterlife of slavery



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