Drawing on over thirty-five years of fieldwork, Patrick B. Mullen considers how African American cultural representations in folklore relate to racial dynamics in the United States. Providing insight into white folklorists\u2019 relationships with black consultants, The Man Who Adores the Negro describes the personal experiences of both fieldworkers and ethnographic subjects. Mullen explores how folklorists such as John Lomax, Newbell Niles Puckett, Alan Lomax, and Roger Abrahams have been implicated in creating the popular concept of African Americans as folk and how this depiction has created notions of blackness and whiteness. Illuminating central aspects of African American cultural history, the author discusses a wide range of folklore that includes work songs, hymns, voodoo rituals, animal tales, jokes, toasts, and children's games and rhymes. In relating folkloric research to white mimicry of black style in such expressions as blues, rock and roll, and hip-hop culture, Mullen contends that both folk performers and folklorists participate in ongoing cultural change when they mix received values and attitudes in producing new interpretations.
Patrick Mullen is Emeritus Professor of English and Folklore at Ohio State University and author of Listening to Old Voices: Folklore, Life Stories, and the Elderly.