ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

Home    ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)   

Google
 

 zora was in her twenties, then living in baltimore and had not finished high school . . .

however the baltimore public high schools had a cut off age for students of 18 . . .

zora reduced her age in order to gain admittance to high school

 

 

Books by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God / Mules and Men  / Jonah’s Gourd Vine / Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica

Zora Neale Hurston : Novels and Stories / Dust Tracks on a Road: An Autobiography

Alice Walker and Zora Neale Hurston: The Common Bond

*   *   *   *   *

Books by Kalamu ya Salaam

 

The Magic of JuJu: An Appreciation of the Black Arts Movement  /   360: A Revolution of Black Poets

Everywhere Is Someplace Else: A Literary Anthology  /  From A Bend in the River: 100 New Orleans Poets

Our Music Is No Accident   /  What Is Life: Reclaiming the Black Blues Self

My Story My Song (CD)

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

zora smiles--kalamu 

at zora neale hurston festival 

(part 1 of 2)

 

i was in 8th grade. my english teacher, mrs. o. e. nelson, told our class, put your books away, i want you to hear something. that something was a recording of langston hughes reciting his poetry with a jazz pianist. at the time i was still attending church, so you could have called me paul. i was instantly converted, that evening, immediately after school was over, i journeyed to the main library, asked one of the librarians where to find langston hughes. i expected to find a book of poetry. i wanted to find that poem about a man who died in harlem, his widow going around begging for money because the family was destitute and, as langston poetically put it, a poor man ain't got no right to die.

when i turned the corner in search of the shelf to which the librarian had directed me, i got the shock of my young life. there wasn't just "a" book of poetry, there was a whole shelf full of books by langston hughes. i said, "whoa!!!" and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

under hughes' tutelage i set to reading the harlem renaissance, and russian writers, and japanese writers, and chinese writers, and caribbean writers, and south american writers, and, in impressive detail, african writers--bloke modisane and peter abrahams' a wreath for udomo were particularly important touchstones. hughes' two autobiographies set me to flowing, and his many anthologies (including two anthologies of african literature) were my graduate courses. by the time i finished high school in 1964, my shakespeare was shaky but my post-colonial reading of third world literature was deeper than that of the average phd in english. and most significant among that deepitude was zora neale hurston.

i, like many, many other people, was enthralled by their eyes were watching god, but for me it was her "moses" novel that had me smiling and slapping the air. zora exemplified the african aesthetic of personalizing the spiritual, of affirming the folk, the way we talked, walked, loved, fat-mouthed, trembled in fear at moments of capture or dug deep into our sack of gumption to confront the odiousness of evil, especially when manifest as some authority figure telling us what we couldn't do—we didn't come through slavery to suffer re-enslavement. officially emancipated during the civil war, came reconstruction we rushed to form ourselves into self-determined communities: black towns and such all across the black belt, wanted more than a town or city, worked hard for a state (hence pap singleton and the exodusters setting out for john brown's kansas, or some other lower mid-west state for to make us a real black home, oklahoma would do, etc.), and by then some of us were beginning to espouse that what we really needed was a nation. it was out of this late 1800's/turn of the century movement that zora was spawned.

eatonville, which is where i am as i type this report, was one of the many small black towns started by ex-enslaved black folk and their immediate descendants. eatonville where zora's father was elected and re-elected and re-elected mayor. eatonville, florida where the flora was green year round and black folk had everything they needed to be fully human: land, sunshine, each other and some self-determined space. thus zora who wasn't scared of nothing and felt that the whole world was, if not her pearl, for sure the world was her oyster--just get out the way, she'd shuck it open and snatch the pearls for herself. zora. eatonville.

eatonville is now a suburb of and surrounded by disney world and overwhelmed by folk hypnotized by mickey mouse versions of social advancement. located in a state that is the home of the right white to vote and the black struggle to keep the right from stealing and/or suppressing the black ballot. florida the sunshine state where four hurricanes hit in 2004, one after the other, some doing a circle dance. here we are in late january 2005 celebrating zora neale, wonder what she would have made of all of this?

the festival opened on wednesday night with a performance by nikki giovanni. notice i said performance rather than poetry reading. i was not there, but dr. jerry ward reports that nikki had the house rocking, rolling, chortling and guffawing.

thursday noon when i landed there were transportation snafus, so i was waiting at the airport for a shuttle that finally arrived like emancipation getting to texas, which is to say, it got there late, hence juneteenth, hence the poetry workshop session i was scheduled to do was already in progress when i got there. my esteemed colleague dr. jerry ward was filling in until i ran in, dropped my bags, and launched into an hour-and-change of poetry discussions with the handful of participants. we ended up having a wonderful exchange and folk seemed genuinely appreciative—so appreciative that they bought all of the 360-degrees of black poetry anthologies that i lugged with me to the event.

the workshop made me want to do more workshopping, wanted to stretch out and talk poetry talk with folk, extend and exchange philosophy and aesthetic arguments and discussions. after an hour i was just getting warmed up. one gentleman who was there simply to accompany his friend who was operating the p.a. system was even smiling as he was drawn into our discussion, chuckling about how i was even able to include one of his favorite singers, r. kelly, into the net of black poetics, all of which gives you an inkling of an idea of how my emphasis on the folk side of the aesthetic might intersect with zora's views (not to mention her little trouble with some folk who thought it "immoral" and that zora had no business loving a young man many years her junior—don't go there kalamu!

yeah, well, you know, kalamu is myopic and don't see no trespassing signs. some of this stuff we think is a new issue is really an ageless issue, something that been going on since some humans took joy and happiness in enjoying the happiness of the act of procreation without actually aiming to do any actual procreating.).

all in all, it was a good workshop, and some of the participants were regular zora festival attendees who made an annual pilgrimage to eatonville.

afterwards, while jerry and i were waiting for the shuttle, woody king and elizabeth van dyke sauntered up. woodie is the single most important figure on the production side of post-50s black theatre work. he is responsible for so many productions and ideas i am hard pressed to even begin listing his achievements, which include, appropriate to this festival, ntozake shange's colored girls. we embrace, and true to form, woody tells me about an idea he has for a baraka celebration that would involve about 40 poets, and asks me to participate. i, of course, sign up immediately. (afterwards while commuting to the hotel i express to jerry my adage  about the importance of being on the scene to be seen, cause when one lives in the cultural hinterlands of the united states, outside the orbit of the cultural axis of boston-new york-philly-dc, then it is easy to be overlooked, not out of any malicious intent, but simply because: out of sight, out of mind.)

woody saw me before i saw him, saw me and called out with his ebullient hailing of good cheer on a broadly smiling face. we always laugh and enjoy each other's company, but even so, had he not seen me, all bets are off as to whether i would have gotten a call. that's just the way it is. and this is why i tell folk who want to know how to get invited to events such as this, you have to make the effort to attend, you have to reach out to folk, get to know them. share space and time with people, and festivals such as the zora neale hurston festival are precisely the opportunities to get to know folk because they are small enough to strike up a conversation and hang with a wide variety of folk, as was my brief contact with woody king.

the timing was beautiful, his master class on black theatre was the same time as my workshop, and while i was staying until sunday morning, woody was actually on his way to the airport because he had to get back to new york that night in order to get down to dc early friday morning for vantile whitfield's funeral. i had the opportunity to share some time with vantile at some conference or the other (i can't even remember where it was) and we exchanged impressions of people and places we knew in common.

vantile was an amazing avatar of black participation in the national cultural agenda and in particular was responsible for a moment in the late seventies and throughout the eighties when black folk had some significant stroke at the national endowment of the arts, a stroke which is long since diminished as the republicans have decided that the government ought not be in the business of supporting the arts. guns yes. arts no. anyway, vantile will be missed.

dr. ward and i, hung around a bit after taking care of some business at the festival office and eventually caught the shuttle, which predictably was running late, headed over to the hilton Altamonte hotel where jerry was already registered. jerry and i have a standing thursday evening dinner date. this was thursday, and though we were not in new orleans, it was dinner time, except if we ate, we wouldn't be able to make john scott's talk, which was scheduled for 7pm. damn. it was 6:30-something when we got to the hotel.

fortunately, john scott was in the lobby, so we were able to hug and exchange lengthy greetings. his eminence, dr. richard long, was also at the table. i kissed his ring. literally. i was being funny, but not sarcastic. richard long is a learned and important african american intellectual who is the resident chief consultant to st.peter for all the black folk of any import who seek admittance to the heavenly hereafter.

richard long got the 411 on everybody and has a richly entertaining command of the english language, sort of a combination of hip college professor, formerly-worldly methodist bishop, and baldwin-esce witness of post-30s black artistic life, all of which is to say, he is witty, intelligent, and familiar with a rich diversity of black lifestyles, including a familiarity with that aspect of black life characterized simply as "the life" by hip black folk who know what "the life" is (a definition of which i will not go into here because, as malcolm x wisely noted, those who know don't say, and those who say don't know). anyway, dr. long is also the chief consultant and behind the scenes force guiding the ongoing development of the zora neale hurston festival.

shortly john scott pulled my coat and suggested we head over to the hospitality room to pick up our festival credentials, at which point we were given all-access badges and gift baskets, again, literal hand-woven baskets that included programs, posters, and a zora festival t-shirt, which i am wearing while completing this report.

john had a hacking cough that caused me some alarm. i inquired, he said it was a result of 40 years of doing metal sculpture without a mask and of spending a childhood in an area that the government finally acknowledged about ten years ago had hazardous pollutants. 40% of his lung tissue was scarred. he was getting treatment. fortunately there was no cancer. i wish i could say i was relieved but john's cough was persistent. and deep. and tragic. he's a great artist. a magnificent sculptor. a man deeply dedicated not simply to his artwork, but also to our people. i don't want to lose him, but he is sixty-some years old and that rough cough does not portend good things.

a few minutes later, john and crew embarked to wherever his presentation was scheduled. jerry and i remained to a booth in the lobby restaurant. yall have heard my attitude toward food on the road—in most of the American hinterland cuisine is but one step removed from road kill, particularly in the midwest, where all-american cooking means the absolute avoidance of herbs, condiments (except for oceans of ketchup, and sprinklings of salt&pepper), flavorful combinations, etc.

i generally order soup or salad and fish with vegetables and rice or baked potato, depending on how deep in squareville i am, there might not be any fish available other than breaded fillets of something that used to swim twenty years ago before it was captured, cut up, frozen and packaged in cellophane. jerry, who is going on two years of living in new orleans, looked up, after a quick perusal of what was offered as a menu, and, with a straight face, said to me: it's hard to eat in other places after eating in new orleans. i didn't even laugh—it's not funny what some people do to food in the name of cooking, not funny at all.

the hilton altamonte springs is an expensive, second-class hotel masquerading as a quality establishment. when registering, i inquired about wireless, they only had wireless in the lobby, and not even throughout the lobby, only at the far end near the room that they deluded themselves into calling a business center. their rates were obscene—a dollar a page for printing. fifty-three cents a minute to use a computer. faxing was . . . i asked about ethernet/high speed connections, i was told the rooms had dial-up. was this a hilton or a shill-ton? the first day i was in a room on the first floor about five feet too far away to get wireless. on the second day i moved to a room on the fifth floor that had a high speed connection. it's shameful. you've got motel with wireless and here was a big ass hilton, up next to disneyworld where the advertised rates were (and i kid you not) $189 a night (thankfully, the festival rates were less than 40% of the laughable listing on the bathroom door). oh well, that's life on the road. friday morning i heard a sister complaining because she couldn't get a bagel in the restaurant. no bagels. a hampton inn in texas serves complimentary bagels and juice, and an upscale hilton up next to disneyworld . . . nevermind.

on friday morning i was sitting in the lobby content to work on the internet for two or three hours when valerie boyd strides through and hollas. i put the computer aside. she reaches out to shake hands. i told her i had to get up and give her a hug. she smiles and gives me that beautiful big-eyed smile of hers. i admire this sister to the highest. valerie says she is heading over to the civic center for her presentation, she's catching a cab, would i like to join her or was i planning to do something else. i saved the file i was working on and prepared to join her.

on the way over we talked about life, caught up since we last spoke, which, if i remember correctly, was at the national black arts festival in 2003. valerie is teaching at a university in athens, georgia, an hour and a half outside of atlanta, she has spent most of her professional life as a working journalist and editor in atlanta. she was in her second year of teaching journalism. we shared classroom stories. i told her i wasn't sure if i could deal with the structure and strictures of teaching college, especially compared to the freedom i had in teaching creative writing and digital video as an elective to high school students.

i explained our use of the story circle concept and she told me about her classes at a school that was severely lacking in diversity—one black student out of sixteen. valerie said last year she had a class that not only had one black student but on top of that all of the other students were white and from georgia. i ain't particular about white bread, so you know i wouldn't last a week in such a monoculture. but everybody got their own cross to tote.

turns out the panel that valerie was doing was the major panel of the day. she was to be joined by cheryl wall, whom i had met years ago and whose re-acquaintance i made yesterday on the shuttle when going to the hotel. dr. wall is also working with linda holmes on an anthology about toni cade bambara, another great sister writer whom i deeply admire. a combination interview/essay i did with and on toni is included in the manuscript that cheryl and linda are piloting. the third person on the panel is dr. lois hurston gaston ("my grandfather was zora's brother").

what was scheduled as a zora neale hurston biography panel was turned into a television program with a talk show format hosted by a veteran, black reporter who was retired from nbc and was now hosting three different cable television shows. his professional resume was far deeper than his knowledge of zora neale hurston so we had to endure some ridiculously uninformed questions, but each of the panelists handled it with the graciousness that black women have developed over centuries of dealing with the self-inflated egos of negro men whose illusionary importance was just that, illusionary, but rather than deflate our little balloons, our sisters have developed the charming craft of gently deflecting us like playfully bouncing beach balls from person to person at a pool party.

as the cameras rolled, the trio of knowledgeable panelists gave nary an indication of just how doofus many of the questions were. they simply parried with anecdotes and insightful commentary. indeed, partially because my man didn't know much, the session offered some insights that we might not have received if the program had proceeded as most literary panels do. so there was a modicum of value in what he did because of the hip way the panelists responded.

at one point there was a relatively long exchange about zora's age. i say relatively long because every 15 minutes or so there was a break in the proceedings ("we'll be right back" blah-blah-blah / "welcome back, we're..." blah-blah-blah). anyway valerie and dr. walls spoke about discovering that zora had shaved ten years off her age and, as to be expected, once those ten years were elided, zora never added them back on.

dr. walls was the first to definitively pin down the discrepancy and did the sleuthing to establish zora's true birthdate, and valerie was the one who figured out when it first happened and offered a plausible explanation for why zora had reduced her age. the short of it was that zora was in her twenties, then living in baltimore and had not finished high school, which she desperately wanted to do, however the baltimore public high schools had a cut off age for students of 18, so valuing education more than biographical accuracy, zora reduced her age in order to gain admittance to high school.

the tv moderator tried to start some shoo-shoo mess and said he wanted to talk about zora's "dark side" except he didn't know what to ask, so he just asked zora's relative if the family ever talked about any of the family secrets or . . . dr. gaston told him the family was secretive and didn't talk much about those kinds of things. he was going for a jerry springer moment, but the sisters weren't having it, no one was descending to the level of lurid entertainment, although i am sure, had my man been more hip, there could have been some frank and forthright discussion about some of what is sometimes termed the problematic aspects of zora's life.

posted 1 February 2005

*   *   *   *   *

Zora Neale Hurston, folklorist and writer, became a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hurston was born and educated in Eatonville, Florida, the first incorporated black city in the United States. At the age of 16, she left her home to work with a traveling theatrical company. The company ended up in New York City , where Hurston studied anthropology at Columbia University. She then attended Howard University as well as Barnard College.

In 1931, Hurston collaborated with Langston Hughes to write the play Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in Three Acts. She wrote her most acclaimed work, Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1937. After writing her autobiography (Dust Tracks on a Road) in 1942, she went on to teach at what is now North Carolina Central University. Her work, revived by feminists in the 1970s, has gained her considerable recognition as one of the most important black writers in American history.

*   *   *   *   *

Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography

By Robert E. Hemenway (Author) / Foreword by Alice Walker

 

Zora Neale Hurston—novelist, folklorist, anthropologist, and child of the rural black South—transformed each hour of her life into something bubbling, exuberant, and brimming with her joy in just being. Robert Hemenway captures the effervescence of this daughter of the Harlem Renaissance in his brilliant and original literary biography. He provides for the first time a full length study of Hurston's life and art, using unpublished letters and manuscripts and personal interviews with many who knew her.

His sensitive reconstruction of Miss Hurston's life  details her two marriages, her relations with her patron, Mrs. R. Osgood Mason, her mentor, Franz Boas, and her friend Langston Hughes; her indictment on a morals charge in 1948; and the sad, final years leading to her death as a penniless occupant of a Florida welfare home. But most important, his interpretation of her art and scholarship, including her extraordinary novels, autobiography, and popular treatment of black folkways, underscores her deep and abiding commitment to the black folk tradition.

*   *   *   *   *

Ida Cox (February 25, 1896 – November 10, 1967) was an African American singer and vaudeville performer, best known for her blues performances and recordings. She was billed as "The Uncrowned Queen of the Blues" Cox was born in February, 1896 as Ida Prather in Toccoa, Habersham County, Georgia (Toccoa was in Habersham County, not yet Stephens County at the time), the daughter of Lamax and Susie (Knight) Prather, and grew up in Cedartown, Georgia, singing in the local African Methodist Church choir.

She left home to tour with travelling minstrel shows, often appearing in blackface into the 1910s; she married fellow minstrel performer Adler Cox. By 1920, she was appearing as a headline act at the 81 Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia; another headliner at that time was Jelly Roll Morton. . . .—Wikipedia

 

Ida Cox—Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues

 

Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues
                                      

                                            By Ida Cox


I hear these women raving 'bout their monkey men
About their trifling husbands and their no good friends
These poor women sit around all day and moan
Wondering why their wandering papa's don't come home
But wild women don't worry, wild women don't have no blues

Now when you've got a man, don't never be on the square
'Cause if you do he'll have a woman everywhere
I never was known to treat no one man right
I keep 'em working hard both day and night
'Cause wild women don't worry, wild women don't have their blues

I've got a disposition and a way of my own
When my man starts kicking I let him find another home
I get full of good liquor, walk the streets all night
Go home and put my man out if he don't act right
Wild women don't worry, wild women don't have their blues

You never get nothing by being an angel child
You better change your ways and get real wild
I wanna tell you something, I wouldn't tell you a lie
Wild women are the only kind that ever get by
wild women don't worry, wild women don't have their blues.

*   *   *   *   *

Video: "South Side Story" Ta-Nehisi Coates author of The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood discusses Michelle Obama with Paul Coates an outspoken publisher and former Black Panther—his father.

“American Girl" (Ta Nehesi Coates)

When Michelle Obama told a Milwaukee campaign rally last February, "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country," critics derided her as another Angry Black Woman. But the only truly radical proposition put forth by Obama, born and raised in Chicago's storied South Side, is the idea of a black community fully vested in the country at large, and proud of the American dream.

*   *   *   *   *

AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#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

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

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

*   *   *   *   *

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

*   *   *   *   *

Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

*   *   *   *   *

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.

*   *   *   *   *

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)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

 

 

 

 

 

 

updated 1 October 2007 

 

 

 

Home   Langston Hughes Table    Richard Wright Table  Black Arts and Black Power Figures   Fifty Influential Figures  Toussaint Table 

Related files:  Zora Neale Hurston Chronology  The Black Joan of Arc  zora smiles  zora smiles 2  Court Order Can't Make Races Mix  Zora Neale Hurston Choreographer  What White Publishers Won't Print  

The Characteristics of Negro Expression