ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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 a respected classicist when the classics represented the ultimate in learned

knowledge,  embodied the living refutation of white supremacy in the late

nineteenth century. The twentieth century was all too quick to forget him

 

 

Books by Michele Valerie Ronnick

 

Cicero's "Paradoxa Stoicorum"The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough  / The Works of William Sanders Scarborough

 

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The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough

An American Journey from Slavery to Scholarship

Edited with an Introduction by Michelle Valerie Ronnick

Foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

 

This fascinating book tells the remarkable story of William Sanders Scarborough's rise from his origins in slavery to a distinguished career as the first African American professionals scholar of classical languages and literatures. Michele Vaerie Ronnick is to be commended for making this compelling account available to a wide reading public.Valerie Smith, Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature and director of the Program in African American Studies, Princeton University

 

Expertly presented by Michele Ronnick, Scarborough's autobiography constitutes an important and timely contribution to the history of Classical Studies in America and to the story of African American intellectual life in the century after Emancipation. Scarborough believed passionately that classical education was a critical component of African American advancement and understood that a liberal education is liberating and the property of all free human beings.Jenny Strauss Clay, professor of classics, University of Virginia

 

This autobiography presents to a new generation the career of  William Sanders Scarborough . . . a precursor to W.E.B. Du Bois, and someone whom the famed intellectual admired and emulated. The complicated ties between Scarborough and the A.M.E.-sponsored Wilberforce University showed that those who valued the life of the mind drew substantial support and encouragement from black religious and educational institutions. Scholars in the classics, history, African American Studies, and other subjects will find much relevant information in this valuable volume.Dennis C. Dickerson, professor of history, Vanderbilt University, historiographer of AME Church

 

 William Sanders Scarborough, a respected classicist when the classics represented the ultimate in learned knowledge, embodied the living refutation of white supremacy in the late nineteenth century. The twentieth century was all too quick to forget him. Michele Ronnick's edition of  Scarborough's autobiography brings him back to life, with all its promise, achievement, and frustration. We need to know it all.Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Princeton University

 

It is uplifting to discover in this fascinating life, so compellingly narrated, a refutation of the racist view that a black man was genetically incapable of learning Greek, and at the same time so clearly to see precisely the effects of such learning on this likable and able man. Like the Roman poet Horace, he too the son of an ex-slave, Scarborough reveals to us a personality imbued with culture, humanism, and compassion.Richard F. Thomas, professor of Greek and Latin, Harvard University, trustee of Loeb Classical Library

 

William Sanders Scarboroughshould be an exemplar for any aspiring intellectual. Under conditions that can be, at best, described as absurd, he forged an amazing career and life. Michele Ronnick has done us a great service in bringing this grand figure back to us.Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Princeton University, inaugural winner of the MLA William Sanders Scarborough book prize for outstanding work in black literature or culture.

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This illuminating autobiography traces Scarborough's path out of slavery in Macon, Georgia, to a prolific scholarly career that culminated with his presidency of Wilberforce University. Despite the racism he encountered as he struggled to establish a place in higher education for African Americans, Scarborough was an exemplary scholar, particularly in the field of classical studies. He was the first African American member of the Modern Language Association, a forty-four-year member of the American Philological Association, and a true champion of higher education.

Michele Valerie Ronnick contextualizes Scarborough's narrative through extensive notes and by exploring a wide variety of sources such as census records, church registries, period newspapers, and military and university records. This book is indispensable to anyone interested in the history of intellectual endeavor in America, Africana Studies, and classical studies as well as those familiar with the associations and institutions that welcomed and valued Scarborough.

Michele Valerie Ronnick is associate professor of Greek and Latin at Wayne State University.

posted 24 January 2005

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Waiting For Superman | Trailer  / The Cartel Trailer / The Cartel—Local Spending

The Cartel—Corruption in Public Schools The Cartel—New Jersey Charter Schools / The Lottery Official Trailer

Practice and Perception of Black Classicism

Howard  is the only historically black college that has had a classics program since its inception . . .—A Shift in Direction at Howard

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Frank Snowden Now An Ancestor

Major Scholar of Blacks in Antiquity

 

Frank M. Snowden Jr. passed away on February 18 of this year in Washington, D.C., after a long and celebrated life in a variety of professional vocations—instructor, scholar, administrator, diplomat. The classics world can justifiably claim that it has lost one of its giants. Professor Snowden graduated from the Boston Latin School in 1928 and proceeded to Harvard University, where he was awarded his bachelor's (1932), master's (1933), and doctoral (1944) degrees in classics.

He began his professional career as an instructor in Latin, French, and English at Virginia State College (1933–1936) and then moved to Spelman College and Atlanta University, where he was an instructor in classics (1936–1940). From then until 1990 he was a member of the faculty at Howard University  . . . . —WashingtonPost

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

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#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification (2009)

By David Waldstreicher

Taking on decades of received wisdom, David Waldstreicher has written the first book to recognize slavery’s place at the heart of the U.S. Constitution. Famously, the Constitution never mentions slavery. And yet, of its eighty-four clauses, six were directly concerned with slaves and the interests of their owners. Five other clauses had implications for slavery that were considered and debated by the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention and the citizens of the states during ratification. This “peculiar institution” was not a moral blind spot for America’s otherwise enlightened framers, nor was it the expression of a mere economic interest. Slavery was as important to the making of the Constitution as the Constitution was to the survival of slavery.By tracing slavery from before the revolution, through the Constitution’s framing, and into the public debate that followed, Waldstreicher rigorously shows that slavery was not only actively discussed behind the closed and locked doors of the Constitutional Convention, but that it was also deftly woven into the Constitution itself.

For one thing, slavery was central to the American economy, and since the document set the stage for a national economy, the Constitution could not avoid having implications for slavery. Even more, since the government defined sovereignty over individuals, as well as property in them, discussion of sovereignty led directly to debate over slavery’s place in the new republic. Finding meaning in silences that have long been ignored, Slavery’s Constitution is a vital and sorely needed contribution to the conversation about the origins, impact, and meaning of our nation’s founding document.

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Predator Nation

Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America

By Charles H. Ferguson

If you’re smart and a hard worker, but your parents aren’t rich, you’re now better off being born in Munich, Germany or in Singapore than in Cleveland, Ohio or New York. This radical shift did not happen by accident.  Ferguson shows how, since the Reagan administration in the 1980s, both major political parties have become captives of the moneyed elite.  It was the Clinton administration that dismantled the regulatory controls that protected the average citizen from avaricious financiers.  It was the Bush team that destroyed the federal revenue base with its grotesquely skewed tax cuts for the rich. And it is the Obama White House that has allowed financial criminals to continue to operate unchecked, even after supposed “reforms” installed after the collapse of 2008. Predator Nation reveals how once-revered figures like Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers became mere courtiers to the elite.

Based on many newly released court filings, it details the extent of the crimes—there is no other word—committed in the frenzied chase for wealth that caused the financial crisis.  And, finally, it lays out a plan of action for how we might take back our country and the American dream.—Read Chapter 1

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A Slave in the White House

Paul Jennings and the Madisons

By Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

Foreword by Annette Gordon-Reed

Paul Jennings was born into slavery on the plantation of James and Dolley Madison in Virginia, later becoming part of the Madison household staff at the White House. Once finally emancipated by Senator Daniel Webster later in life, he would give an aged and impoverished Dolley Madison, his former owner, money from his own pocket, write the first White House memoir, and see his sons fight with the Union Army in the Civil War. He died a free man in northwest Washington at 75. Based on correspondence, legal documents, and journal entries rarely seen before, this amazing portrait of the times reveals the mores and attitudes toward slavery of the nineteenth century, and sheds new light on famous characters such as James Madison, who believed the white and black populations could not coexist as equals; French General Lafayette who was appalled by this idea; Dolley Madison, who ruthlessly sold Paul after her husband's death; and many other since forgotten slaves, abolitionists, and civil right activists

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Midnight Rising

John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War

By Tony Horwitz

Plotted in secret, launched in the dark, John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry was a pivotal moment in U.S. history. But few Americans know the true story of the men and women who launched a desperate strike at the slaveholding South. Now, Midnight Rising portrays Brown's uprising in vivid color, revealing a country on the brink of explosive conflict. Brown, the descendant of New England Puritans, saw slavery as a sin against America's founding principles. Unlike most abolitionists, he was willing to take up arms, and in 1859 he prepared for battle at a hideout in Maryland, joined by his teenage daughter, three of his sons, and a guerrilla band that included former slaves and a dashing spy. On October 17, the raiders seized Harpers Ferry, stunning the nation and prompting a counterattack led by Robert E. Lee.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 16 May 2012

 

 

 

Home  Wilson Jeremiah Moses

Related  files: The Works of William Sanders Scarborough  Practice and Perception of Black Classicism  Celebrating Alexander Crummell  

Classicism within Black Consciousness   Frank Snowden Now An Ancestor  Ten Vital Principles for Black Education   Black Nationalism in America 

Albert Murray on Ralph Ellison Aesthetics   What America Would Be Like Without Negroes  The Omni Americans Excerpts