The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman tells the story of a woman, a community, and the African American experience from the Civil War through Jim Crow to the civil rights movement. This narrative and Gaines's other novels and short stories explore the life of blacks in the South, their religious traditions and folkways, and their struggles under oppression. The southern communities described are diverse: blacks, creoles of color, poor whites, and wealthy landowners.Part 1 of this volume provides biographical information about Ernest Gaines and a discussion of critical and background studies of his narrative. The essays in part 2 will help teachers of African American literature, American literature, and southern literature convey to their students various aspects of Gaines's work and the adaptations of it in relation to southern literature, history, music, folk culture, and vernaculars of English.
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