Unnamed Negroes in Jefferson 2

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Unnamed Negroes in Jefferson 2
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Unnamed Negroes in Jefferson 2
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Jefferson's African-American population appears in The Mansion indirectly, in several narrative references to them as a group and from several different political perspectives. On his trip into Jefferson at the beginning of the novel, for example, Mink walks through a "section [of] all Negro homes" (38) between the Square and the railroad depot; his thoughts seem to include the actual 'Negroes' who live in these homes, though no people come clearly into focus. Later on the novel mentions the "small dingy back- and side-street stores which cater mostly to Negroes" (362), but also mentions that by the mid-1940s "the Negroes" have a "newer and better high school building in Jefferson than the white folks had" (385). Both the town's socialist tinsmith and Charles Mallison make generalized assumptions about the "Negroes" who live in Jefferson. To the tinsmith, a new arrival from Finland, these "Negroes" are imagined as a "proletariat," good "material" among whom he can recruit "converts" to the communist cause (237). Charles, on the other hand, thinks of the African-American population as "our own loyal colored," who will not be interested in radical ideas (238).