African American romance

Publication year

From the introduction to the volume:

attention to publishing history marks Chapter 10, Julie Moody-Freeman’s survey of African American romance and its reception, both in academic contexts and in the often-overlooked journalism, much of it from Black publications, which documents its history. Although this history is deeply intertwined with the story of American romance publishing more generally—for example, the author and editor who founded the Romance Writers of America, Vivian Stephens, was a Black woman—it cannot be reduced to a subset of that story, not least because of the long, ongoing, racially-specific struggle to have Black love and marriage recognized, let alone considered “romantic,” by white Americans. The scholarship Moody-Freeman surveys thus begins with work on love stories and marriage plots in the first decades of Black fiction after Emancipation—work whose negotiations with the politics of middle-class respectability sets the stage for comparable concerns in twentieth and twenty-first-century Black romance novels—and continues through modern intersectional analyses of race, gender, class, and disability not only in Black romance novels. This chapter also addresses work that has been done to document racism and anti-racist resistance in American romance institutions, in particular the RWA and its RITA awards program. (15)