This chapter presents some concluding thoughts from the author. The first generation of African American and Native American authors set into motion processes that forever changed the course of American literature, religion, and culture. In addition to setting powerful precedents for future authors of color, they established a defining trajectory for the development of American literature in the next century. The most revolutionary aspect of early African- and Native American literatures is their revelation of deep continuities between the past and the present. If the contemporary restoration of these forgotten texts demands a new accounting of American literary and cultural history, it also demands a new understanding of our relationship to that history.
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