My research focuses on post-Harlem Renaissance African-American literature. Looking at debates about cultural merit, I explore how black creative styles reveal the challenges of creating a multiracial democracy. My first book, The Ethics of Swagger: Prizewinning African American Novels, 1977-1993, examined this idea in the context of the Reagan Era. Examining the span from 1929 to 2008, my present project considers the ways that adolescence recurs as a generative metaphor in black creative expression. I also teach and write about hip hop, James Alan McPherson, August Wilson, and Suzan-Lori Parks.