Canaan Bound

The African-American Great Migration Novel
Author: Lawrence R. Rodgers
The Great Migration in Black literature
Paper – $23
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/1997
Buy the Book Request Desk/Examination Copy Request Review Copy Request Rights or Permissions Request Alternate Format Preview

About the Book

The Great Migration is a defining experience of post-emancipation African American life and a central feature of twentieth-century Black literature. Lawrence R. Rodgers explores the historical and literary significance of the event and identifies the Great Migration novel as a literary form that intertwines geography and identity.

Rodgers draws on iconic literary voices like Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison, but also includes lesser-known writers William Attaway and Dorothy West. By mining the writers' biographical connections to migration, he teases apart how individual novels relate to one another, to the historical situation of Black America, and to Black literature as a whole. Rodgers also relates migration novels to literary texts like slave narratives, folk tales, and urban fiction, affirming the southern folk roots of Black culture and arguing for us to stem the erosion of southern memory.

About the Author

Lawrence R. Rodgers is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and a professor of English at Oregon State University. He is the author of America’s Folklorist: B. A. Botkin and American Culture.


"A challenging and welcome new perspective. . . . Promises to remain a definitive work for many years to come."--Eric Sundquist, author of To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature