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Full-Text Articles in African American Studies

Lincoln's Words At Gettysburg Resonate After Charlottesville, Christopher R. Fee Aug 2017

Lincoln's Words At Gettysburg Resonate After Charlottesville, Christopher R. Fee

English Faculty Publications

Seven score and fourteen years ago, Abraham Lincoln eloquently reminded us of the idealism of our founding our fathers, who “brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. “

Lincoln also called upon all persons of good conscience, not simply to remember the sacrifice of those who died preserving these ideals on the battlefield at Gettysburg, but also to act upon those ideals, and to rise to the challenge “to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us….” (excerpt)


I Need A Prince To Watch Over Me. Really?! Re-Visioning "Happily Ever After" In Gloria Naylor's Women Of Brewster Place, Anita August Jan 2017

I Need A Prince To Watch Over Me. Really?! Re-Visioning "Happily Ever After" In Gloria Naylor's Women Of Brewster Place, Anita August

English Faculty Publications

Chapter One ............................................................................................... 23

I Need a Prince to Watch Over Me. Really?! Re-Visioning ‘Happily Ever After’ in Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place


Jessie Fauset’S Not-So-New Negro Womanhood: The Harlem Renaissance, The Long Nineteenth Century, And Legacies Of Feminine Representation, Meredith Goldsmith Dec 2015

Jessie Fauset’S Not-So-New Negro Womanhood: The Harlem Renaissance, The Long Nineteenth Century, And Legacies Of Feminine Representation, Meredith Goldsmith

English Faculty Publications

Fauset’s texts offer a repository of precisely what critic Alain Locke labeled retrograde: seemingly outdated plotlines and tropes that draw upon multiple literary, historical, and popular cultural sources. This essay aims to change the way we read Fauset by excavating this literary archive and exploring how the literary “past” informs the landscape of Fauset’s fiction. Rather than viewing Fauset’s novels as deviations from or subversive instantiations of modernity, I view them as part of a long nineteenth-century tradition of gendered representation. Instead of claiming a subversiveness that Fauset might have rejected or a conservatism that fails to ...


Shaping Presence: Ida B. Wells’ 1892 Testimony Of The ‘Untold Story’ At New York’S Lyric Hall, Anita August Apr 2014

Shaping Presence: Ida B. Wells’ 1892 Testimony Of The ‘Untold Story’ At New York’S Lyric Hall, Anita August

English Faculty Publications

Ida B. Wells stood before a crowd of the social hierarchy of black women from Boston, Brooklyn, New York City, and Philadelphia at New York’s Lyric Hall on October 5, 1892.

Wells’ 1892 testimonial, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All its Phases, is the founding rhetorical text in the anti-lynching movement that called for a moral, religious, and legal referendum on lynching in America. By forsaking all of the commonplace rationale for lynching and the Southern social comfort that came with it, Wells reframed the simplistic characterizations of lynching with new questions to demonstrate its structural features. With the ...


Compulsory Homosexuality And Black Masculine Performance, Vershawn A. Young Jan 2011

Compulsory Homosexuality And Black Masculine Performance, Vershawn A. Young

English Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


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 ...


Passing For Black: Coon Songs And The Performance Of Race, Patricia R. Schroeder Jun 2010

Passing For Black: Coon Songs And The Performance Of Race, Patricia R. Schroeder

English Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


"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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Passing As Danzy Senna, Bertram D. Ashe, Danzy Senna Jan 2002

Passing As Danzy Senna, Bertram D. Ashe, Danzy Senna

English Faculty Publications

Caucasia, written by Danzy Senna, is part of a growing sub-genre of African-American novels, some of which announce their themes by their titles: White Boys, by Reginald McKnight; The White Boy Shuffle, by Paul Beatty; The Last Integrationist, by Jake Lamar; and Negrophobia, by Darius James, to name a few. Caucasia is a "Post-Soul" novel that explores the world of "mullatos" - both cultural and racial. But even though artists such as Kara Walker, photographer Lorna Simpson, and essayist Lisa Jones also explore the vicissitudes of post-Civil Rights Movement Black identity, in Black fiction its been pretty much a boys' club.


"Under The Umbrella Of Black Civilization": A Conversation With Reginald Mcknight, Bertram D. Ashe Jan 2001

"Under The Umbrella Of Black Civilization": A Conversation With Reginald Mcknight, Bertram D. Ashe

English Faculty Publications

Talking to Reginald McKnight is like scanning an imaginary worldwide radio dial. At any given moment he can transform his pleasant speaking voice into a raspy, aged, Middle Eastern-by-way-of-New York accent - or a deep Southern drawl. In an instant he can switch from a precise West African dialect to hip, urban street lingo, and then effortlessly segue back to his normal voice. McKnight says he "hit the ground running" as a mimic, and his talent was broadened as he lived all over the United States as the son of an Air Force sergeant. His time spent on the road - including ...


"Hair Drama" On The Cover Of "Vibe" Magazine, Bertram D. Ashe Jan 2001

"Hair Drama" On The Cover Of "Vibe" Magazine, Bertram D. Ashe

English Faculty Publications

This study consists of a cultural reading of the cover photograph of the June-July 1999 issue of Vibe magazine. It explores the relationship between Mase, an African-American male rap star, and the three anonymous African-American female models that surround him. The study interprets the cover through the long, straightened hair of the models, locating the models' hair in a historically-informed context of black hair theory and practice. The study argues that the models' presence on the cover, particularly their "bone straight and long" hair, "enhances" Mase in much the same way breast-augmented "trophy women" "enhance" their mates. Ultimately, the study ...


The Psychology Of Uncertainty: (Re)Inscribing Indeterminacy In Rudolph Fisher's The Conjure-Man Dies, Adrienne Gosselin Jan 1999

The Psychology Of Uncertainty: (Re)Inscribing Indeterminacy In Rudolph Fisher's The Conjure-Man Dies, Adrienne Gosselin

English Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


On The Jazz Musician's Love/Hate Relationship With The Audience, Bertram D. Ashe Jan 1999

On The Jazz Musician's Love/Hate Relationship With The Audience, Bertram D. Ashe

English Faculty Publications

An assistant professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross, Bertram D. Ashe discusses how the intersection of an African American cool style with a black vernacular tradition and multi-racial audiences complicates audience-performer relations. In the vernacular tradition, performers play not "to" but "with" an audience, drawing on the call-response patterns that characterize the black aesthetic. Ashe notes that the vernacular tradition is not racial but cultural, and class can be as important a marker as race in determining audience expectations. Differing cultural backgrounds create, in Ashe's words, "competing realities," distinct sets of expectations that can shape ...


The Colored Girl In The Ring: A Guyanese Woman Remembers By Brenda Chester Doharris (Book Review), Daryl Cumber Dance Sep 1998

The Colored Girl In The Ring: A Guyanese Woman Remembers By Brenda Chester Doharris (Book Review), Daryl Cumber Dance

English Faculty Publications

Brenda Chester DoHarris's The Colored Girl in the Ring: A Guyanese Woman Remembers joins the company of some of the most memorable works of Caribbean literature, those classic accounts of coming-of-age, such as George Lamming's In the Castle of My Skin, V. S. Naipaul's A House for Mr. Biswas, Michael Anthony's The Year in San Fernando, Merle Hodge's Crick Crack, Monkey, Erna Brodber's Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home, Zea Edgell's Beka Lamb, Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John, and Beryl Gilroy's Sunlight on Sweet Water. Like most of the bildungsromans - and ...


My Brother By Jamaica Kincaid (Book Review), Daryl Cumber Dance Feb 1998

My Brother By Jamaica Kincaid (Book Review), Daryl Cumber Dance

English Faculty Publications

In Jamaica Kincaid's six previous autobiographical novels and essays (At the Bottom of the River, 1984; Annie John, 1985; A Small Place, 1988; Annie, Gwen, Lily, Pam and Julie, 1989; Lucy, 1990; and The Autobiography of My Mother, 1996), her readers have the feeling that she has told all about her troubled life in Antigua and her painful emotional conflicts with her family (especially her mother). We discover with her new memoir, My Brother, however, that some things have been just too painful to tell - until now. Clearly the most obvious omission from these earlier works is her three ...


The World Would Do Better To Ask Why Is Frimbo Sherlock Holmes?: Investigating Liminality In Rudolph Fisher's The Conjure-Man Dies, Adrienne Gosselin Jan 1998

The World Would Do Better To Ask Why Is Frimbo Sherlock Holmes?: Investigating Liminality In Rudolph Fisher's The Conjure-Man Dies, Adrienne Gosselin

English Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.