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Articles 1 - 30 of 78

Full-Text Articles in African American Studies

Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles, Bertram D. Ashe Jan 2015

Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles, Bertram D. Ashe

Bookshelf

In Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles, professor Bert Ashe delivers a witty, fascinating, and unprecedented account of black male identity as seen through our culture's perceptions of hair. It is a deeply personal story that weaves together the cultural and political history of dreadlocks with Ashe's own mid-life journey to lock his hair.

After leading a far-too-conventional life for forty years, Ashe began a long, arduous, uncertain process of locking his own hair in an attempt to step out of American convention. Black hair, after all, matters. Few Americans are subject to snap judgements like those in the African-American ...


Voting Blocks, Julian Maxwell Hayter Jul 2013

Voting Blocks, Julian Maxwell Hayter

Jepson School of Leadership Studies articles, book chapters and other publications

In 1971, Creighton Court resident Curtis Holt filed a monumental lawsuit against the city. His suit attacked an increasingly problematic, yet subtle form of institutionalized racism — the dilution of African-Americans’ growing voting power. Richmond had annexed 23 square miles of Chesterfield County a year earlier to head off the city’s growing black electorate and keep City Council predominantly white. Holt’s suit charged that blacks would have won a council majority in 1970 had Richmond not added 47,000 suburbanites, only 3 percent of whom were black.


Louis Armstrong, Gene H. Anderson Jan 2013

Louis Armstrong, Gene H. Anderson

Music Faculty Publications

Despite his lifelong claim of 4 July 1900 as his birthday, Armstrong was actually born on 4 August 1901 as recorded on a baptismal certificate discovered after his death. Although calling himself “Louis Daniel Armstrong” in his 1954 autobiography, he denied knowledge of his middle name or its origin. Nevertheless, evidence of “Daniel” being a family name is strong: Armstrong's paternal great-great-grandfather, a third generation slave brought from Tidewater Virginia for sale in New Orleans in 1818, was named Daniel Walker, as was his son, Armstrong's great-grandfather. The latter's wife, Catherine Walker, sponsored her great-grandson's baptism ...


Racism In The Nation's Service: Government Workers And The Color Line In Woodrow Wilson's America, Eric S. Yellin Jan 2013

Racism In The Nation's Service: Government Workers And The Color Line In Woodrow Wilson's America, Eric S. Yellin

Bookshelf

Between the 1880s and 1910s, thousands of African Americans passed civil service exams and became employed in the executive offices of the federal government. However, by 1920, promotions to well-paying federal jobs had nearly vanished for black workers. Eric S. Yellin argues that the Wilson administration's successful 1913 drive to segregate the federal government was a pivotal episode in the age of progressive politics. Yellin investigates how the enactment of this policy, based on Progressives' demands for whiteness in government, imposed a color line on American opportunity and implicated Washington in the economic limitation of African Americans for decades ...


"Go In De Wilderness": Evading The "Eyes Of Others" In The Slave Songs, Erik Nielson Mar 2011

"Go In De Wilderness": Evading The "Eyes Of Others" In The Slave Songs, Erik Nielson

School of Professional and Continuing Studies Faculty Publications

This essay explores the trope of the wilderness in the slave spirituals, arguing that it functions to recreate symbolically the natural landscape into which slaves regularly took refuge in order to elude white surveillance. Drawing on a variety of sources, it considers the unique surveillance culture in the antebellum South, its effect on the everyday lives of the slaves, and the ways in which the slaves used their natural surroundings to avoid it. It then uses a close analysis of the song "Go in the Wilderness " as a point of departure for a broader discussion of the way the wilderness ...


Church Burnings, Eric S. Yellin Jan 2011

Church Burnings, Eric S. Yellin

History Faculty Publications

On 15 September 1963 a bomb exploded in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. The ensuing fire and death of four little girls placed the violence of white supremacy on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers. It also entered the 16th Street Church into a long history of attacks against houses of worship in the American South. Though churches burn for any number of reasons, including accident and insurance fraud, church arson in southern culture has frequently been associated with a symbolic assault on a community’s core institution.


African American Literature By Writers Of Caribbean Descent, Daryl Cumber Dance Jan 2011

African American Literature By Writers Of Caribbean Descent, Daryl Cumber Dance

English Faculty Publications

They dubbed it the Port of No Return. When their ancestors left that port at Elmira Beach, Ghana – or Goree Island, Senegal, or any of a number of similar African ports – and set out on the perilous journey over the ocean to the Americas, there was no going back for the New World Negroes. That is what for most Africans in the Americas was the beginning of their history. Whether resident in a small island nation or in the American colonies, whether under the domain of a British, Spanish, French, or Dutch colonial power, and whether shuttled back and forth ...


‘Broken Brotherhood: The Rise And Fall Of The National Afro-American Council,’ By Benjamin R. Justesen, Eric S. Yellin Jan 2010

‘Broken Brotherhood: The Rise And Fall Of The National Afro-American Council,’ By Benjamin R. Justesen, Eric S. Yellin

History Faculty Publications

The dominance of Booker T. Washington and the loyalty of most African Americans to the Republican Party are often mistaken as markers of black political unanimity at the turn of the twentieth century. Even worse, they are assumed to stand for the whole of African American political life. Benjamin R. Justesen’s story of the struggles to establish and sustain the National Afro-American Council should serve as an important reminder of the tensions, diversity, and energy within black politics in this period. The reminder is so important, and so potential productive, that one wishes that Broken Brotherhood: The Rise and ...


The Obama Effect On American Discourse About Racial Identity: Dreams From My Father (And Mother), Barack Obama's Search For Self, Suzanne W. Jones Jan 2010

The Obama Effect On American Discourse About Racial Identity: Dreams From My Father (And Mother), Barack Obama's Search For Self, Suzanne W. Jones

English Faculty Publications

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Joseph Curl reported that the Obama organization "would not answer when asked why the biracial candidate calls himself black," replying only that the question didn't "seem especially topical." Biracial ancestry and racial identity are still sensitive subjects in the United States, not suitable for sound bites. But they are perfect topics for the introspective musings of an autobiography, and Barack Obama must have thought he had answered this question in depth in Dreams from My Father (1995). In his introduction, Obama hesitates to use the term "autobiography" because it connotes, he says, "a certain ...


Invisible Dread, From Twisted: The Dreadlock Chronicles, Bertram D. Ashe Jan 2010

Invisible Dread, From Twisted: The Dreadlock Chronicles, Bertram D. Ashe

English Faculty Publications

This excerpt traces the issues and process surrounding the dreadlocking of an Afri­can-American professor's hair. The personal history leading up to the decision to grow locks is briefly addressed, as is the experience of getting twisted for the first time and some reactions to the new hairstyle. Twisted discusses issues of cultural authenticity and academic nonconformity. It examines dreadlocks as a pathway to explore black identity, but in opposing ways: the act of locking ones hair does dis­play unconventional blackness - but it also participates in a preexisting black style. To what extent, the excerpt asks, can the ...


Saving Savannah: The City And The Civil War (Book Review), Edward L. Ayers Dec 2009

Saving Savannah: The City And The Civil War (Book Review), Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Review of the book, Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War by Jacqueline Jones. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.


Racing Jesse Jackson: Leadership, Masculinity, And The Black Presidency, Paul Achter Jan 2009

Racing Jesse Jackson: Leadership, Masculinity, And The Black Presidency, Paul Achter

Rhetoric and Communication Studies Faculty Publications

In June of 1983, the New York Times published a survey revealing that nearly one in five white voters would not vote for a black candidate for president, even if that candidate was qualified and was the party nominee.2 For some readers, such a revelation might have induced shock or even outrage; for others the poll would merely reflect an obvious and ugly reality. The survey was prompted by the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s attempt to become the first black, Democratic nominee for president.

A news story exploring the prevalence of white racism in the United States was not ...


A Birth And A Death, Or Everything Important Happens On Monday, Daryl Cumber Dance Jan 2009

A Birth And A Death, Or Everything Important Happens On Monday, Daryl Cumber Dance

English Faculty Publications

I was going to be a grandmother. It had taken all too long. I gave birth to my first child, Warren Dance Jr., when I was only twenty-one, but Warren Jr. was going to be almost thirty-six when his first child was born. As excited as I was, I decided to wait until a week after the July 4, 1995, appearance of my new grand to visit him in Houston, Texas. Other members of the family were going to be there for the birth, and I wanted time to enjoy this baby all by myself, so I planned to arrive ...


Tragic No More?: The Reappearance Of The Racially Mixed Character, Suzanne W. Jones Jan 2008

Tragic No More?: The Reappearance Of The Racially Mixed Character, Suzanne W. Jones

English Faculty Publications

During the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth, the tragic mulatto/a figured prominently in American fiction, only to recede after the Harlem Renaissance when African-American writers called for "race pride" and racial solidarity and to disappear entirely in the late 1960s after the Black Power movement ushered in racially conscious concepts such as "Black Is Beautiful." Since 1990, however, the mixed black-white character has made a significant comeback in American fiction. Contemporary representations suggest that choosing one's racial identity is only slightly less difficult than it used to be because of American society's conflation of skin ...


Black Girl In Paris: Shay Youngblood's Escape From "The Last Plantation", Suzanne W. Jones Jan 2008

Black Girl In Paris: Shay Youngblood's Escape From "The Last Plantation", Suzanne W. Jones

English Faculty Publications

Twentieth-century African-American writers have shared with their white American counterparts the expectation that in Paris they would find an community of writers and artists. And to varying degrees each did. Much like Edith Wharton, African-American writers viewed the French as a people who value art and creativity, the aesthete and the intellectual. And much like American writers from Hawthorne to Henry Miller, African-American expatriates viewed Paris as an "outlet for repressed sexuality," an unpuritanical place, which would allow, even encourage, people to live and love and create as the pleased. In Black Girl in Paris (2000) these are certainly the ...


Jazz On The River By William Howland Kenney (Book Review), Gene H. Anderson Apr 2007

Jazz On The River By William Howland Kenney (Book Review), Gene H. Anderson

Music Faculty Publications

Jazz has not always been "America's classical music." In the first decades of the twentieth century it was regarded by much of the black and white Establishment as unsettling, provocative, even dangerous - attitudes exacerbated by the social upheaval of the Great Migration around the time of World War I. Enter black riverboat jazz bands to negotiate the color line: to help "white Americans approach in an oblique manner underlying social and cultural changes that were too deep and too heavily laden with pain, guilt, and fear for most citizens to discuss openly" (5). Such is the thesis of Jazz ...


These - Are - The "Breaks": A Roundtable Discussion On Teaching The Post-Soul Aesthetic, Bertram D. Ashe, Crystal Anderson, Mark Anthony Neal, Evie Shockley, Alexander Weheliye Jan 2007

These - Are - The "Breaks": A Roundtable Discussion On Teaching The Post-Soul Aesthetic, Bertram D. Ashe, Crystal Anderson, Mark Anthony Neal, Evie Shockley, Alexander Weheliye

English Faculty Publications

We met at Duke University - mid-summer, in the mid Atlantic, at mid-campus - to talk about teaching courses that focused on the post-soul aesthetic. We met outside the John Hope Franklin Center, and soon enough we five youngish black professors were walking a hallway towards a conference room near the African and African American Studies program. Not at all surprisingly, the walls of the hallway were lined with framed photographs of the esteemed John Hope Franklin at various stages throughout his long and storied career. For me, given the topic I was about to raise among these professional colleagues, walking that ...


Theorizing The Post-Soul Aesthetic: An Introduction, Bertram D. Ashe Jan 2007

Theorizing The Post-Soul Aesthetic: An Introduction, Bertram D. Ashe

English Faculty Publications

It's time. Clearly, it's time. As I begin this introduction, in the spring of 2006, landmark anniversaries press in on me from every side: 20 years ago, Greg Tate wrote "Cult-Nats Meet Freaky-Deke: the Return of the Black Aesthetic" for the Village Voice in the fall of 1986. And Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It - that totemic post-soul anthem - was released in the summer of 1986, as well. More personally, I first taught Trey Ellis's essay "The New Black Aesthetic" in 1991,15 years ago, and I inaugurated my post-soul aesthetic course in the Spring ...


Childhood Trauma And Its Reverberations In Bebe Moore Campbell's Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, Suzanne W. Jones Jan 2007

Childhood Trauma And Its Reverberations In Bebe Moore Campbell's Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, Suzanne W. Jones

English Faculty Publications

Novelist Bebe Moore Campbell was only five when Emmett Till was murdered on August 28, 1955. But in Your Blues Ain't Like Mine (1992) she seeks to answer the question that black teenagers in Mississippi, and indeed many people from all over the United States, asked after seeing the photograph of Till's mutilated and bloated body: "How could they do that to him? He's only a boy" (Dittmer 58). Campbell embraces the view that Lillian Smith expressed in Killers of the Dream (1949): "The warped, distorted frame we have put around every Negro child from birth is ...


Sucking Salt: Caribbean Women Writers, Migration, And Survival By Meredith M. Gadsby (Book Review), Daryl Cumber Dance Jan 2007

Sucking Salt: Caribbean Women Writers, Migration, And Survival By Meredith M. Gadsby (Book Review), Daryl Cumber Dance

English Faculty Publications

The folk will tell you that salt can either save you or destroy you. Toni Cade Bambara's Velma of The Salteaters realized that her survival depended on learning "the difference between eating salt as an antidote to snakebite and turning into salt, succumbing to the serpent." The lesson of similar folk wisdom is the subject of Meredith M. Gasby's Sucking Salt, where she propses as a new framework for the examination of Caribbean women's writing the survival techiniques implied in "sucking salt," techiniques suggested in her aunt's reflections on people she knew. Tantie expounded: "Little salt ...


Constructing Black Selves: Caribbean American Narratives And The Second Generation By Lisa D. Mcgill (Book Review), Daryl Cumber Dance Jan 2007

Constructing Black Selves: Caribbean American Narratives And The Second Generation By Lisa D. Mcgill (Book Review), Daryl Cumber Dance

English Faculty Publications

Using second generation Americans Harry Belafonte, Paule Marshall, Audre Lorde, Piri Thomas, and the meringue hip hop group Proyecto Uno, Lisa D. McGill considers in Constructing Black Selves: Caribbean American Narratives and the Second Generation the issues of identity formation of those whose heritage ultimately includes Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States, most often New York City. Though her subjects come from different national, racial, and language backgrounds; though they have made their names in different media; and though they have different views of race, identity, and culture, she convincingly makes the argument that "African America becomes powerful site ...


"I Put The Tale Back Where I Found It": Feeling The Past Through "The Warmth Of The Human Voice", Daryl Cumber Dance Jan 2007

"I Put The Tale Back Where I Found It": Feeling The Past Through "The Warmth Of The Human Voice", Daryl Cumber Dance

English Faculty Publications

In this article, I examine my revelations and growth related to folk culture and literature connected to the African American community. I borrow from and play on the Sudanese formulaic ending for the folktale; it seemed to me appropriate - even obligatory- that "I put the tale back where I found it." This maxim is symbolic, reflecting what I find one of the most characteristic elements of Black folklore - that is, the focus on the group, the community, in terms of the source of the historical situation of the tale; the moral lesson; the content, style, and delivery; and the tale ...


'The Senator And The Socialite: The True Story Of America's First Black Dynasty,' By Lawrence Otis Graham, Eric S. Yellin Jan 2007

'The Senator And The Socialite: The True Story Of America's First Black Dynasty,' By Lawrence Otis Graham, Eric S. Yellin

History Faculty Publications

Lawrence Otis Graham attempts to tell the important story of the Bruces and their legacy in The Senator and the Socialite: The True Story of America’s First Black Dynasty. Starting his story before the Civil War, Graham follows the “First Black Dynasty” through its ultimate fall from grace in mid-twentieth-century New York City. As with his previous bestseller, Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class (1999), Graham takes on the ambitious task of capturing the meaning and importance of an underappreciated group of American’s.


Who Was Cock Robin? A New Reading Of Erna Brodber's Jane And Louisa Will Soon Come Home, Daryl Cumber Dance Sep 2006

Who Was Cock Robin? A New Reading Of Erna Brodber's Jane And Louisa Will Soon Come Home, Daryl Cumber Dance

English Faculty Publications

Much has been written about the quest of Brodber's protagonist Nellie for identity, for wholeness, for balance, for sanity, for finding her way back home into the community. Nellie's efforts to find herself and to integrate into the community will be easier, Brodber declared in a speech in 1988, "when Jane and Louisa come home, i.e., when the women find themselves" (Notes). Brodber also observed in that same speech, "'coming' rather than 'being' is the appropriate action word with which to address the issue of integration into the community," a fact suggested by the game that gives ...


Colin Powell's Life Story As A 'Good Black' Narrative, Mari Boor Tonn Jan 2006

Colin Powell's Life Story As A 'Good Black' Narrative, Mari Boor Tonn

Rhetoric and Communication Studies Faculty Publications

The versions of Powell’s life examined in this chapter contain two overarching features ethnographers claim are means by which immigrant blacks work to accrue “good” black status. First, their emphasis on Powell as the son of industrious Jamaican immigrants comports with the common practice ethnographers locate among second-generation black immigrants of consciously telegraphing their ethnic heritage as a means of “filtering” themselves for the dominant culture so that they can ward off downward social mobility still linked to a black racial identity in the United States. The inclusion of ancestry in life stories by political hopefuls is not in ...


In Search Of Nella Larsen: A Biography Of The Color Line By George Hutchinson (Book Review), Daryl Cumber Dance Jan 2006

In Search Of Nella Larsen: A Biography Of The Color Line By George Hutchinson (Book Review), Daryl Cumber Dance

English Faculty Publications

With In Search of Nella Larsen, George Hutchinson makes the third major attempt to provide a biography of the elusive Harlem Renaissance author Nella Larsen (1891-1964), the mulatto daughter of immigrants from Denmark and the Danish West Indies whose life and fiction were shaped largely by her mixed emotions about her racial heritage and her feelings of abandonment by her white mother, stepfather, and sister. In his introduction, Hutchinson makes much of the errors of prior Larsen biographers Charles R. Larson (Invisible Darkness: Jean Toomer and Nella Larsen [1993]) and Thadious M. Davis (Nella Larsen, Novelist of the Harlem Renaissance ...


Jasper, John, Daryl Cumber Dance Jan 2006

Jasper, John, Daryl Cumber Dance

English Faculty Publications

Perhaps the most famous of all the slave preachers, John Jasper was born in Fluvanna County, Virginia, on July 4, 1812, the youngest of twenty-four children born to Phillip and Tina Jasper. His father, also a slave preacher, died two months before John was born, but he prophesied that his son would become a famous preacher.


Interracial Love, Virginians' Lies, And Donald Mccaig's Jacob's Ladder, Suzanne W. Jones Jan 2005

Interracial Love, Virginians' Lies, And Donald Mccaig's Jacob's Ladder, Suzanne W. Jones

English Faculty Publications

The Old South's taboo against love between blacks and whites has cast a long shadow. No cross-racial relationship has been so pathologized by American society. Even in 1967, when the Supreme Court finally declared antimiscegenation laws unconstitutional in the case of Loving v. Virginia, sixteen states still prohibited interracial marriage, down from thirty states as recently as 1948. Not until 1998 and 2000 did ballot initiatives in South Carolina and Alabama finally eliminate the last of the antimiscegenation laws, although no one had tried to enforce them for years. Recent U.S. census figures show interracial unions increasing--up from ...


The Origin Of Armstrong's Hot Fives And Hot Sevens, Gene H. Anderson Jan 2003

The Origin Of Armstrong's Hot Fives And Hot Sevens, Gene H. Anderson

Music Faculty Publications

It has been almost fifty years since Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings of 1925-1928 were first recognized in print as a watershed of jazz history and the means by which the trumpeter emerged as the style's first transcendent figure. Since then these views have only intensified. The Hot Fives and Hot Sevens have come to be regarded as harbingers of all jazz since, with Armstrong's status as the “single most creative and innovative force in jazz history” and an “American genius” now well beyond dispute. This study does not question these claims but seeks ...


From Within The Frame: Storytelling In African-American Studies, Bertram D. Ashe Jan 2002

From Within The Frame: Storytelling In African-American Studies, Bertram D. Ashe

Bookshelf

The book explores the written representation of African-American oral storytelling from Charles Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston and Ralph Ellison to James Alan McPherson, Toni Cade Bambara and John Edgar Wideman. At its core, the book compares the relationship of the "frame tale" - an inside-the-text storyteller telling a tale to an inside-the-text listener - with the relationship between the outside-the-text writer and reader. The progression is from Chesnutt's 1899 frame texts, in which the black spoken voice is contained by a white narrator/listener, to Bambara's sixties-era example of a "frameless" spoken voice text, to Wideman's neo-frame text of ...