This article is a comparative consideration of Morehouse College president and public theologian Benjamin Elijah Mays (1894-1984) and novelist Richard Wright (1908-60). Their respective views on modernism were developed through a gendered lens of black Southern masculinity and religion that each experienced during his formative childhood. Mays and Wright responded differently to theism and Christianity. They also responded differently to the mothering women in their lives--one with affection, the other with disaffection. Both Mays and Wright viewed modernism as a means of navigating the political hegemony embodied by white males. Yet, they each reproduced the modernist heterosexism, unwittingly supporting the subordination of the women who mothered them.

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