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Area and Ethnic Studies > African American and African Diaspora Studies

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Black Communists Speak on Scottsboro: A Documentary History Cover

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Black Communists Speak on Scottsboro: A Documentary History

On March 25, 1931, Alabama police detained nine young African AMerican men at a railroad stop not far from Scottsboro.  In the process, they encountered two white women --  who promptly accused the young men of raping them.  Soon after, all-white juries found the nine youths guilty and eight of them were sentenced to death.  Although many Americans were outraged by the injustices of the case, the loudest voices raised in protest were those of members of the American Communist Party.

Many white Communists spoke out, but black Communists took the lead in organizing public protests and legal responses.  As this surprising book makes clear, they were acting at the direction of the Communist International  (Comintern), which had directed them to address the "Negro problem."  Now, with the opening of formerly inaccessible Communist party archives, this collection of primary documents reveals the little-known but major roles played by black Communists in the case of "the Scottsboro Boys."

Black Cultural Traffic Cover

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Black Cultural Traffic

Crossroads in Global Performance and Popular Culture

Edited by Harry J. Elam, Jr. and Kennell Jackson

A shrewdly designed, generously expansive, timely contribution to our understanding of how 'black' expression continues to define and defy the contours of global (post)modernity. The essays argue persuasively for a transnational ethos binding disparate African and diasporic enactments, and together provide a robust conversation about the nature, history, future, and even possibility of 'blackness' as a distinctive mode of cultural practice. --Kimberly Benston, author of Performing Blackness "Black Cultural Traffic is nothing less than our generation's manifesto on black performance and popular culture. With a distinguished roster of contributors and topics ranging across academic disciplines and the arts (including commentary on film, music, literature, theater, television, and visual cultures), this volume is not only required reading for scholars serious about the various dimensions of black performance, it is also a timely and necessary teaching tool. It captures the excitement and intellectual innovation of a field that has come of age. Kudos!" --Dwight A. McBride, author of Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch "The explosion of interest in black popular culture studies in the past fifteen years has left a significant need for a reader that reflects this new scholarly energy. Black Cultural Traffic answers that need." --Mark Anthony Neal, author of Songs in the Key of Black Life "A revolutionary anthology that will be widely read and taught. It crisscrosses continents and cultures and examines confluences and influences of black popular culture -- music, dance, theatre, television, fashion and film. It also adds a new dimension to current discussions of racial, ethnic, and national identity." --Horace Porter, author of The Making of a Black Scholar

Black Culture and the New Deal Cover

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Black Culture and the New Deal

The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era

Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff

In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration refused to endorse legislation that openly sought to improve political, economic, and social conditions for African Americans, but they did recognize and celebrate African Americans, says Sklaroff, by offering federal support to notable black intellectuals, celebrities, and artists. Sklaroff argues that these New Deal programs represent a key moment in the history of American race relations, as the cultural arena provided black men and women with unique employment opportunities and new outlets for political expression.

Black Deaf Students  Cover

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Black Deaf Students

A Model for Educational Success

Carolyn E. Williamson

Contemporary research has identified resilience — the ability to rebound and learn despite obstacles and adversities — as a key element to success in school. Black Deaf Students: A Model for Educational Success searches out ways to develop, reinforce, and alter the factors that encourage resilience in African American deaf and hard of hearing students. To find the individual characteristics and outside influences that foster educational achievement, author Carolyn E. Williamson conducted extensive interviews with nine African American deaf and hard of hearing adults who succeeded in high school and postsecondary programs. Until now, the majority of studies of African American deaf and hard of hearing students concentrated upon their underachievement. The only success stories available involved high-achieving African American hearing students. To create an effective model in Black Deaf Students, Williamson focuses on the factors that contributed to her subjects’ successes in postsecondary programs, what they viewed as obstacles and how they overcame them, and their recommendations for facilitating graduation from postsecondary programs. Her work gives “voice” to a group rarely heard in research, which enables readers to view them as a heterogeneous rather than homogeneous group. Their stories provide vital information for parents, school personnel, community stakeholders, and those enrolled in education and mental health preparation programs. In addition, the insights about how these adults succeeded can be useful in facilitating positive outcomes for students who are going into two-year colleges, vocational training, and work settings.

Black Eden Cover

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Black Eden

the Idlewild community

Lewis Walker

Black Eden chronicles the history of Idlewild, a Michigan black community founded during the aftermath of the Civil War. As one of the nation’s most popular black resorts, Idlewild functioned as a gathering place for African Americans, and more importantly as a touchstone of black identity and culture. Benjamin C. Wilson and Lewis Walker examine Idlewild’s significance within a historical context, as well as the town’s revitalization efforts and the need for comprehensive planning in future development. In a segregated America, Idlewild became a place where black audiences could see rising black entertainers.
     Profusely illustrated with photos from the authors’ personal collections, Black Eden provides a lengthy discussion about the crucial role that Idlewild played in the careers of artists such as Louis Armstrong, B. B. King, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, and Della Reese. Fundamentally, the book explores issues involved in living in a segregated society, the consequences of the civil rights movement, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent integration, and the consequences of integration vs. racial solidarity. The authors ask: Did integration kill Idlewild? suggesting rather that other factors contributed to its decline.

 

Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial Representation Cover

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Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial Representation

Shirley Moody-Turner

Before the innovative work of Zora Neale Hurston, folklorists from the Hampton Institute collected, studied, and wrote about African American folklore. Like Hurston, these folklorists worked within but also beyond the bounds of white mainstream institutions. They often called into question the meaning of the very folklore projects in which they were engaged.

Shirley Moody-Turner analyzes this output, along with the contributions of a disparate group of African American authors and scholars. She explores how black authors and folklorists were active participants--rather than passive observers--in conversations about the politics of representing black folklore. Examining literary texts, folklore documents, cultural performances, legal discourse, and political rhetoric, Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial Representation demonstrates how folklore studies became a battleground across which issues of racial identity and difference were asserted and debated at the turn of the twentieth century. The study is framed by two questions of historical and continuing import. What role have representations of black folklore played in constructing racial identity? And, how have those ideas impacted the way African Americans think about and creatively engage black traditions?

Moody-Turner renders established historical facts in a new light and context, taking figures we thought we knew--such as Charles Chesnutt, Anna Julia Cooper, and Paul Laurence Dunbar--and recasting their place in African American intellectual and cultural history.

Black Greek-letter Organizations in the Twenty-First Century Cover

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Black Greek-letter Organizations in the Twenty-First Century

Our Fight Has Just Begun

Gregory Parks

During the twentieth century, black Greek-Letter organizations (BGLOs) united college students dedicated to excellence, fostered kinship, and uplifted African Americans. Members of these organizations include remarkable and influential individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr., Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, novelist Toni Morrison, and Wall Street pioneer Reginald F. Lewis. Despite the profound influence of these groups, many now question the continuing relevance of BGLOs, arguing that their golden age has passed. Partly because of their perceived link to hip-hop culture, black fraternities and sororities have been unfairly reduced to a media stereotype—a world of hazing without any real substance. The general public knows very little about BGLOs, and surprisingly the members themselves often do not have a thorough understanding of their history and culture or of the issues currently facing their organizations. To foster a greater engagement with the history and contributions of BGLOs, Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the Twenty-first Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun brings together an impressive group of authors to explore the contributions and continuing possibilities of BGLOs and their members. Editor Gregory S. Parks and the contributing authors provide historical context for the development of BGLOs, exploring their service activities as well as their relationships with other prominent African American institutions. The book examines BGLOs’ responses to a number of contemporary issues, including non-black membership, homosexuality within BGLOs, and the perception of BGLOs as educated gangs. As illustrated by the organized response of BGLO members to the racial injustice they observed in Jena, Louisiana, these organizations still have a vital mission. Both internally and externally, BGLOs struggle to forge a relevant identity for the new century. Internally, these groups wrestle with many issues, including hazing, homophobia, petty intergroup competition, and the difficulty of bridging the divide between college and alumni members. Externally, BGLOs face the challenge of rededicating themselves to their communities and leading an aggressive campaign against modern forms of racism, sexism, and other types of fear-driven behavior. By embracing the history of these organizations and exploring their continuing viability and relevance, Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the Twenty-first Century demonstrates that BGLOs can create a positive and enduring future and that their most important work lies ahead.

Black in Latin America Cover

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Black in Latin America

Henry Louis Gates Jr., 0, 0

Black Internationalist Feminism Cover

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Black Internationalist Feminism

Women Writers of the Black Left, 1945-1995

Cheryl Higashida

Black Internationalist Feminism examines how African American women writers affiliated themselves with the post-World War II Black Communist Left and developed a distinct strand of feminism. This vital yet largely overlooked feminist tradition built upon and critically retheorized the postwar Left's "nationalist internationalism," which connected the liberation of Blacks in the United States to the liberation of Third World nations and the worldwide proletariat. Black internationalist feminism critiques racist, heteronormative, and masculinist articulations of nationalism while maintaining the importance of national liberation movements for achieving Black women's social, political, and economic rights._x000B__x000B_Cheryl Higashida shows how Claudia Jones, Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Childress, Rosa Guy, Audre Lorde, and Maya Angelou worked within and against established literary forms to demonstrate that nationalist internationalism was linked to struggles against heterosexism and patriarchy. Exploring a diverse range of plays, novels, essays, poetry, and reportage, Higashida illustrates how literature is a crucial lens for studying Black internationalist feminism because these authors were at the forefront of bringing the perspectives and problems of black women to light against their marginalization and silencing._x000B__x000B_In examining writing by Black Left women from 1945 to 1995, Black Internationalist Feminism contributes to recent efforts to rehistoricize the Old Left, Civil Rights, Black Power, and second-wave Black women's movements.

Black Manhood and Community Building in North Carolina, 1900–1930 Cover

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Black Manhood and Community Building in North Carolina, 1900–1930

Angela Hornsby-Gutting

Historical treatments of race during the early twentieth century have generally focused on black women's activism. Leading books about the disenfranchisement era hint that black men withdrew from positions of community leadership until later in the century.

Angela Hornsby-Gutting argues that middle-class black men in North Carolina in fact actively responded to new manifestations of racism. Focusing on the localized, grassroots work of black men during this period, she offers new insights about rarely scrutinized interracial dynamics as well as the interactions between men and women in the black community.

Informed by feminist analysis, Hornsby-Gutting uses gender as the lens through which to view cooperation, tension, and negotiation between the sexes and among African American men during an era of heightened race oppression. Her work promotes improved understanding of the construct of gender during these years, and expands the vocabulary of black manhood beyond the "great man ideology" which has obfuscated alternate, localized meanings of politics, manhood, and leadership.

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