Blend Of Colo(R) Ace and Nature Writing: Du Bois’s Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil

Dr. Poonam Punia


The present chapter focuses how W. E.B. Du Bois analyzed natural beauty and gave rise not only to the combination of anti-racist protest but also described potential contribution to a better understanding of the intersection of race and colonialism in the eco-critical tradition. Afro-American voices on the issues of forestry, pastoral and environmental justice have been largely underestimated. The environmental discourse mediated by the privileged, both intellectually and materially, have woven the dominant narrative while the Afro-American perspective and the legacy of their pastoral experience has been down played. Hence just as the pastoral/ wilderness spaces have been racialized and white-dominated, so has been the literature on these – a veritable legitimization of the invisibility of the Afro-American legacy of experience and wisdom. In black native writings, eco-criticism/environmental justice and imaginary have been important aspects of the black writings in America. Therefore, Kathleen Wallace and Karla Armbruster while rightly questioning, “why so few Afro-American voices are recognized as part of native writing and eco-criticism” (2) have taken up narratives of colors to develop a reactionary discourse what Paul Tidwell called “racist defense of an essentialzed idea of nature”(The Blackness of the Whale). Rereading Afro-American narratives eco-critically reformulates and revises the dominant precepts. Richard Wright, Du Bois and Washington among other Afro-American writers have been eco-critically conscious. Amidst epistemological congestion, it is rather overlooked that environment justice movement in the U.S. began in 1980s when scattered groups of mostly Afro-Americans in Warren County, North Carolina struggled.

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