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The Will to Adorn: African American Diversity, Style and Identity

In her 1934 essay, folklorist and writer Zora Neale Hurston noted that the "will to adorn" was one of the most important aspects of African American expressive culture. Although Hurston was speaking about the love of eloquent and richly embellished speech that she observed among African Americans in her own beloved community in Eatonville, Florida, she could well have been referring to the creative traditions of dress and body arts among people of African descent in the United States.

These traditions reveal continuities of ideas, values, skills, and knowledge rooted in the African continent and in the American experience. They have been ...

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