29 Books Published by Duke University Press Books on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood by James Baldwin Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood

by James Baldwin
Duke University Press Books (Aug 01, 2018)
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“a child’s story for adults”

Illustrated by Yoran Cazac. Edited and with an introduction by Nicholas Boggs and Jennifer DeVere Brody With a foreword by Tejan Karefa and an afterword by Aisha Karefa-Smart

Little Man, Little Man is the only children’s book by acclaimed writer James Baldwin. Published in 1976 by Dial Press, the book quickly went out of print. Now, at a time when Baldwin is more popular than ever, and readers, librarians, and booksellers are clamoring for more diverse children’s books, Duke University Press is proud to bring the book back into print. It will be available in August 2018.

In the book, four-year-old TJ spends his days on his lively Harlem block playing with his best friends WT and Blinky and running errands for neighbors. As he comes of age as a “Little Man” with big dreams, TJ faces a world of grown-up adventures and realities. Little Man, Little Man celebrates and explores the challenges and joys of black childhood. In it we not only see life in 1970s Harlem from a black child’s perspective; we gain a fuller appreciation of the genius of one of America’s greatest writers.

James Baldwin called Little Man, Little Man

[a] celebration of the self-esteem of black children.”

In their brief introduction to the book, Baldwin scholars Nicholas Boggs and Jennifer DeVere Brody explain that the illustrations and text invite readers to “look again and experience the social ills represented in the book—violence, economic disparity, alcoholism and drug abuse, and the distortions of mass media—from the perspective of a black child, and one, it is important to note in closing, who is not innocent.” They suggest that audiences at the time were not ready for this perspective, which might explain the book’s initial reception.

Duke University Press’s new edition of Little Man, Little Man retains the charming original illustrations by French artist Yoran Cazac and includes a foreword by Baldwin’s nephew Tejan “TJ” Karefa-Smart (the inspiration for the title character) and an afterword by his niece Aisha Karefa-Smart.


Click for more detail about The Universal Machine (consent not to be a single being) by Fred Moten The Universal Machine (consent not to be a single being)

by Fred Moten
Duke University Press Books (Apr 27, 2018)
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"Taken as a trilogy, consent not to be a single being is a monumental accomplishment: a brilliant theoretical intervention that might be best described as a powerful case for blackness as a category of analysis."—Brent Hayes Edwards, author of Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination

In The Universal Machine—the concluding volume to his landmark trilogy consent not to be a single being—Fred Moten presents a suite of three essays on Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, and Frantz Fanon in which he explores questions of freedom, capture, and selfhood. In trademark style, Moten considers these thinkers alongside artists and musicians such as William Kentridge and Curtis Mayfield while interrogating the relation between blackness and phenomenology. Whether using Levinas’s idea of escape in unintended ways, examining Arendt’s antiblackness through Mayfield’s virtuosic falsetto and Anthony Braxton’s musical language, or showing how Fanon’s form of phenomenology enables black social life, Moten formulates blackness as a way of being in the world that evades regulation. Throughout The Universal Machine—and the trilogy as a whole—Moten’s theorizations of blackness will have a lasting and profound impact.


Click for more detail about Stolen Life (consent not to be a single being) by Fred Moten Stolen Life (consent not to be a single being)

by Fred Moten
Duke University Press Books (Mar 02, 2018)
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In Stolen Life—the second volume in his landmark trilogy consent not to be a single being—Fred Moten undertakes an expansive exploration of blackness as it relates to black life and the collective refusal of social death. The essays resist categorization, moving from Moten’s opening meditation on Kant, Olaudah Equiano, and the conditions of black thought through discussions of academic freedom, writing and pedagogy, non-neurotypicality, and uncritical notions of freedom. Moten also models black study as a form of social life through an engagement with Fanon, Hartman, and Spillers and plumbs the distinction between blackness and black people in readings of Du Bois and Nahum Chandler. The force and creativity of Moten’s criticism resonate throughout, reminding us not only of his importance as a thinker, but of the continued necessity of interrogating blackness as a form of sociality.


Click for more detail about Ezili’s Mirrors: Imagining Black Queer Genders by Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley Ezili’s Mirrors: Imagining Black Queer Genders

by Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley
Duke University Press Books (Feb 27, 2018)
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From the dagger mistress Ezili Je Wouj and the gender-bending mermaid Lasiren to the beautiful femme queen Ezili Freda, the Ezili pantheon of Vodoun spirits represents the divine forces of love, sexuality, prosperity, pleasure, maternity, creativity, and fertility. And just as Ezili appears in different guises and characters, so too does Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley in her voice- and genre-shifting, exploratory book Ezili’s Mirrors. Drawing on her background as a literary critic as well as her quest to learn the lessons of her spiritual ancestors, Tinsley theorizes black Atlantic sexuality by tracing how contemporary queer Caribbean and African American writers and performers evoke Ezili. Tinsley shows how Ezili is manifest in the work and personal lives of singers Whitney Houston and Azealia Banks, novelists Nalo Hopkinson and Ana Lara, performers MilDred Gerestant and Sharon Bridgforth, and filmmakers Anne Lescot and Laurence Magloire—none of whom identify as Vodou practitioners. In so doing, Tinsley offers a model of queer black feminist theory that creates new possibilities for decolonizing queer studies.


Click for more detail about Black and Blur (consent not to be a single being) by Fred Moten Black and Blur (consent not to be a single being)

by Fred Moten
Duke University Press Books (Dec 08, 2017)
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In Black and Blur—the first volume in his sublime and compelling trilogy consent not to be a single being—Fred Moten engages in a capacious consideration of the place and force of blackness in African diaspora arts, politics, and life. In these interrelated essays, Moten attends to entanglement, the blurring of borders, and other practices that trouble notions of self-determination and sovereignty within political and aesthetic realms. Black and Blur is marked by unlikely juxtapositions: Althusser informs analyses of rappers Pras and Ol’ Dirty Bastard; Shakespeare encounters Stokely Carmichael; thinkers like Kant, Adorno, and José Esteban Muñoz and artists and musicians including Thornton Dial and Cecil Taylor play off each other. Moten holds that blackness encompasses a range of social, aesthetic, and theoretical insurgencies that respond to a shared modernity founded upon the sociological catastrophe of the transatlantic slave trade and settler colonialism. In so doing, he unsettles normative ways of reading, hearing, and seeing, thereby reordering the senses to create new means of knowing.


Click for more detail about Journal of a Homecoming / Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (English and French Edition) by Aimé Césaire Journal of a Homecoming / Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (English and French Edition)

by Aimé Césaire
Duke University Press Books (Nov 10, 2017)
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Originally published in 1939, Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal is a landmark of modern French poetry and a founding text of the Négritude movement. This bilingual edition features a new authoritative translation, revised introduction, and extensive commentary, making it a magisterial edition of Césaire’s surrealist masterpiece.


Click for more detail about Louise Thompson Patterson: A Life of Struggle for Justice by Keith Gilyard Louise Thompson Patterson: A Life of Struggle for Justice

by Keith Gilyard
Duke University Press Books (Oct 05, 2017)
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Born in 1901, Louise Thompson Patterson was a leading and transformative figure in radical African American politics. Throughout most of the twentieth century she embodied a dedicated resistance to racial, economic, and gender exploitation. In this, the first biography of Patterson, Keith Gilyard tells her compelling story, from her childhood on the West Coast, where she suffered isolation and persecution, to her participation in the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. In the 1930s and 1940s she became central, along with Paul Robeson, to the labor movement, and later, in the 1950s, she steered proto-black-feminist activities. Patterson was also crucial to the efforts in the 1970s to free political prisoners, most notably Angela Davis. In the 1980s and 1990s she continued to work as a progressive activist and public intellectual. To read her story is to witness the courage, sacrifice, vision, and discipline of someone who spent decades working to achieve justice and liberation for all.

Book Review

Click for more detail about South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s by Kellie Jones South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s

by Kellie Jones
Duke University Press Books (Apr 07, 2017)
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Named a Best Art Book of 2017 by the New York Times and Artforum

In South of Pico Kellie Jones explores how the artists in Los Angeles’s black communities during the 1960s and 1970s created a vibrant, productive, and engaged activist arts scene in the face of structural racism. Emphasizing the importance of African American migration, as well as L.A.’s housing and employment politics, Jones shows how the work of black Angeleno artists such as Betye Saar, Charles White, Noah Purifoy, and Senga Nengudi spoke to the dislocation of migration, L.A.’s urban renewal, and restrictions on black mobility. Jones characterizes their works as modern migration narratives that look to the past to consider real and imagined futures. She also attends to these artists’ relationships with gallery and museum culture and the establishment of black-owned arts spaces. With South of Pico, Jones expands the understanding of the histories of black arts and creativity in Los Angeles and beyond.


Click for more detail about The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland by Robyn C. Spencer The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland

by Robyn C. Spencer
Duke University Press Books (Dec 02, 2016)
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In The Revolution Has Come Robyn C. Spencer traces the Black Panther Party’s organizational evolution in Oakland, California, where hundreds of young people came to political awareness and journeyed to adulthood as members. Challenging the belief that the Panthers were a projection of the leadership, Spencer draws on interviews with rank-and-file members, FBI files, and archival materials to examine the impact the organization’s internal politics and COINTELPRO’s political repression had on its evolution and dissolution. She shows how the Panthers’ members interpreted, implemented, and influenced party ideology and programs; initiated dialogues about gender politics; highlighted ambiguities in the Panthers’ armed stance; and criticized organizational priorities. Spencer also centers gender politics and the experiences of women and their contributions to the Panthers and the Black Power movement as a whole.

Providing a panoramic view of the party’s organization over its sixteen-year history, The Revolution Has Come shows how the Black Panthers embodied Black Power through the party’s international activism, interracial alliances, commitment to address state violence, and desire to foster self-determination in Oakland’s black communities.


Click for more detail about Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity by Alexis Pauline Gumbs Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity

by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Duke University Press Books (Oct 28, 2016)
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In Spill, self-described queer Black troublemaker and Black feminist love evangelist Alexis Pauline Gumbs presents a commanding collection of scenes depicting fugitive Black women and girls seeking freedom from gendered violence and racism. In this poetic work inspired by Hortense Spillers, Gumbs offers an alternative approach to Black feminist literary criticism, historiography, and the interactive practice of relating to the words of Black feminist thinkers. Gumbs not only speaks to the spiritual, bodily, and otherworldly experience of Black women but also allows readers to imagine new possibilities for poetry as a portal for understanding and deepening feminist theory.


Click for more detail about Love, H: The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones by Hettie Jones Love, H: The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones

by Hettie Jones
Duke University Press Books (Oct 18, 2016)
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Click for more detail about Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader by Greg Tate Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader

by Greg Tate
Duke University Press Books (Aug 05, 2016)
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Since launching his career at the Village Voice in the early 1980s Greg Tate has been one of the premiere critical voices on contemporary Black music, art, literature, film, and politics. Flyboy 2 provides a panoramic view of the last thirty years of Tate’s influential work. Whether interviewing Miles Davis or Ice Cube, reviewing an Azealia Banks mixtape or Suzan Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog, discussing visual artist Kara Walker or writer Clarence Major, or analyzing the ties between Afro-futurism, Black feminism, and social movements, Tate’s resounding critical insights illustrate how race, gender, and class become manifest in American popular culture. Above all, Tate demonstrates through his signature mix of vernacular poetics and cultural theory and criticism why visionary Black artists, intellectuals, aesthetics, philosophies, and politics matter to twenty-first-century America.


Click for more detail about South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration by Marcia Chatelain South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration

by Marcia Chatelain
Duke University Press Books (Apr 03, 2015)
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In South Side Girls Marcia Chatelain recasts Chicago’s Great Migration through the lens of black girls. Focusing on the years between 1910 and 1940, when Chicago’s black population quintupled, Chatelain describes how Chicago’s black social scientists, urban reformers, journalists and activists formulated a vulnerable image of urban black girlhood that needed protecting. She argues that the construction and meaning of black girlhood shifted in response to major economic, social, and cultural changes and crises, and that it reflected parents’ and community leaders’ anxieties about urbanization and its meaning for racial progress. Girls shouldered much of the burden of black aspiration, as adults often scrutinized their choices and behavior, and their well-being symbolized the community’s moral health. Yet these adults were not alone in thinking about the Great Migration, as girls expressed their views as well. Referencing girls’ letters and interviews, Chatelain uses their powerful stories of hope, anticipation and disappointment to highlight their feelings and thoughts, and in so doing, she helps restore the experiences of an understudied population to the Great Migration’s complex narrative.


Click for more detail about Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City by Natalie Hopkinson Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City

by Natalie Hopkinson
Duke University Press Books (May 22, 2012)
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Go-go is the conga drum–inflected black popular music that emerged in Washington, D.C., during the 1970s. The guitarist Chuck Brown, the "Godfather of Go-Go," created the music by mixing sounds borrowed from church and the blues with the funk and flavor that he picked up playing for a local Latino band. Born in the inner city, amid the charred ruins of the 1968 race riots, go-go generated a distinct culture and an economy of independent, almost exclusively black-owned businesses that sold tickets to shows and recordings of live go-gos. At the peak of its popularity, in the 1980s, go-go could be heard around the capital every night of the week, on college campuses and in crumbling historic theaters, hole-in-the-wall nightclubs, backyards, and city parks.Go-Go Live is a social history of black Washington told through its go-go music and culture. Encompassing dance moves, nightclubs, and fashion, as well as the voices of artists, fans, business owners, and politicians, Natalie Hopkinson’s Washington-based narrative reflects the broader history of race in urban America in the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first. In the 1990s, the middle class that had left the city for the suburbs in the postwar years began to return. Gentrification drove up property values and pushed go-go into D.C.’s suburbs. The Chocolate City is in decline, but its heart, D.C.’s distinctive go-go musical culture, continues to beat. On any given night, there’s live go-go in the D.C. metro area.


Click for more detail about EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art by Kellie Jones EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art

by Kellie Jones
Duke University Press Books (May 27, 2011)
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A daughter of the poets Hettie Jones and Amiri Baraka, Kellie Jones grew up immersed in a world of artists, musicians, and writers in Manhattan’s East Village and absorbed in black nationalist ideas about art, politics, and social justice across the river in Newark. The activist vision of art and culture that she learned in those two communities, and especially from her family, has shaped her life and work as an art critic and curator. Featuring selections of her writings from the past twenty years, EyeMinded reveals Jones’s role in bringing attention to the work of African American, African, Latin American, and women artists who have challenged established art practices. Interviews that she conducted with the painter Howardena Pindell, the installation and performance artist David Hammons, and the Cuban sculptor Kcho appear along with pieces on the photographers Dawoud Bey, Lorna Simpson, and Pat Ward Williams; the sculptor Martin Puryear; the assemblage artist Betye Saar; and the painters Jean-Michel Basquiat, Norman Lewis, and Al Loving. Reflecting Jones’s curatorial sensibility, this collection is structured as a dialogue between her writings and works by her parents, her sister Lisa Jones, and her husband Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr. EyeMinded offers a glimpse into the family conversation that has shaped and sustained Jones, insight into the development of her critical and curatorial vision, and a survey of some of the most important figures in contemporary art.


Click for more detail about African Rhythms: The Autobiography Of Randy Weston (Refiguring American Music) by Randy Weston and Willard Jenkins African Rhythms: The Autobiography Of Randy Weston (Refiguring American Music)

by Randy Weston and Willard Jenkins
Duke University Press Books (Oct 05, 2010)
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The pianist, composer, and bandleader Randy Weston is one of the world’s most influential jazz musicians and a remarkable storyteller whose career has spanned five continents and more than six decades. Packed with fascinating anecdotes, African Rhythms is Weston’s life story, as told by him to the music journalist Willard Jenkins. It encompasses Weston’s childhood in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood—where his parents and other members of their generation imbued him with pride in his African heritage—and his introduction to jazz and early years as a musician in the artistic ferment of mid-twentieth-century New York. His music has taken him around the world: he has performed in eighteen African countries, in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, in the Canterbury Cathedral, and at the grand opening of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina: The New Library of Alexandria. Africa is at the core of Weston’s music and spirituality. He has traversed the continent on a continuous quest to learn about its musical traditions, produced its first major jazz festival, and lived for years in Morocco, where he opened a popular jazz club, the African Rhythms Club, in Tangier.Weston’s narrative is replete with tales of the people he has met and befriended, and with whom he has worked. He describes his unique partnerships with Langston Hughes, the musician and arranger Melba Liston, and the jazz scholar Marshall Stearns, as well as his friendships and collaborations with Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn, Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, the novelist Paul Bowles, the Cuban percussionist Candido Camero, the Ghanaian jazz artist Kofi Ghanaba, the Gnawa musicians of Morocco, and many others. With African Rhythms, an international jazz virtuoso continues to create cultural history.

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Click for more detail about I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t And Other Plays by Sonia Sanchez I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t And Other Plays

by Sonia Sanchez
Duke University Press Books (Sep 17, 2010)
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"Sonia Sanchez remains one of the most read, respected, and visible figures of the Black Arts Movement, as well as its most significant female figure. This volume only adds to that legacy." --Amiri Baraka

Cornel-Toni-soniaThis collection brings together for the first time the plays of Sonia Sanchez, a prolific, award-winning poet and one of the most prominent writers in the Black Arts Movement. In addition to Sanchez's five previously published plays The Bronx Is Next (1970), Dirty Hearts (1971), Sister Son/ji (1972), Malcolm/Man Don't Live Here No Mo (1979) Uh, Uh; But How Do It Free Us? (1975), and , the collection also includes her two unpublished plays, I'm Black When I'm Singing, I'm Blue When I Ain't (1982) and 2 x 2 (2009).

It reveals the thematic and formal exchanges between Sanchez's poetry and dramatic works over the course of four decades. Sanchez emerged as a black nationalist poet and playwright in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Like her poetry, her dramas reflect her critique of the racism and sexism that she encountered as a young female writer in the black militant community, her ongoing concern with the well-being of the black community, and her commitment to social justice. I'm Black When I'm Singing, I'm Blue When I Ain't and Other Plays includes three essays in which Sanchez reflects on her art and activism, and an introduction by Jacqueline Wood situating Sanchez's plays in relation to her poetry, activism, and the feminist dramatic voice in black revolutionary art.


Click for more detail about Thiefing Sugar: Eroticism between Women in Caribbean Literature (Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe) by Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley Thiefing Sugar: Eroticism between Women in Caribbean Literature (Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe)

by Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley
Duke University Press Books (Aug 18, 2010)
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In Thiefing Sugar, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley explores the poetry and prose of Caribbean women writers, revealing in their imagery a rich tradition of erotic relations between women. She takes the book’s title from Dionne Brand’s novel In Another Place, Not Here, where eroticism between women is likened to the sweet and subversive act of cane cutters stealing sugar. The natural world is repeatedly reclaimed and reinterpreted to express love between women in the poetry and prose that Tinsley analyzes. She not only recuperates stories of Caribbean women loving women, stories that have been ignored or passed over by postcolonial and queer scholarship until now, she also shows how those erotic relations and their literary evocations form a poetics and politics of decolonization. Tinsley’s interpretations of twentieth-century literature by Dutch-, English-, and French-speaking women from the Caribbean take into account colonialism, migration, labor history, violence, and revolutionary politics. Throughout Thiefing Sugar, Tinsley connects her readings to contemporary matters such as neoimperialism and international LGBT and human-rights discourses. She explains too how the texts that she examines intervene in black feminist, queer, and postcolonial studies, particularly when she highlights the cultural limitations of the metaphors that dominate queer theory in North America and Europe, including those of the closet and “coming out.”


Click for more detail about B Jenkins (Refiguring American Music) by Fred Moten B Jenkins (Refiguring American Music)

by Fred Moten
Duke University Press Books (Jan 05, 2010)
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The fourth collection of poetry from the literary and cultural critic Fred Moten, B Jenkins is named after the poet’s mother, who passed away in 2000. It is both an elegy and an inquiry into many of the themes that Moten has explored throughout his career: language, music, performance, improvisation, and the black radical aesthetic and political tradition. In Moten’s verse, the arts, scholarship, and activism intertwine. Cadences echo from his mother’s Arkansas home through African American history and avant-garde jazz riffs. Formal innovations suggest the ways that words, sounds, and music give way to one another.The first and last poems in the collection are explicitly devoted to Moten’s mother; the others relate more obliquely to her life and legacy. They invoke performers, writers, artists, and thinkers including not only James Baldwin, Roland Barthes, Frederick Douglass, Billie Holiday, Audre Lorde, Charlie Parker, and Cecil Taylor, but also contemporary scholars of race, affect, and queer theory. The book concludes with an interview conducted by Charles Henry Rowell, the editor of the journal Callaloo. Rowell elicits Moten’s thoughts on the relation of his poetry to theory, music, and African American vernacular culture.


Click for more detail about Our Caribbean: A Gathering Of Lesbian And Gay Writing From The Antilles by Thomas Glave Our Caribbean: A Gathering Of Lesbian And Gay Writing From The Antilles

by Thomas Glave
Duke University Press Books (Jun 10, 2008)
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The first book of its kind, Our Caribbean is an anthology of lesbian and gay writing from across the Antilles. The author and activist Thomas Glave has gathered outstanding fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and poetry by little-known writers together with selections by internationally celebrated figures such as José Alcántara Almánzar, Reinaldo Arenas, Dionne Brand, Michelle Cliff, Audre Lorde, Achy Obejas, and Assotto Saint. The result is an unprecedented literary conversation on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experiences throughout the Caribbean and its far-flung diaspora. Many selections were originally published in Spanish, Dutch, or creole languages; some are translated into English here for the first time.The thirty-seven authors hail from the Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Suriname, and Trinidad. Many have lived outside the Caribbean, and their writing depicts histories of voluntary migration as well as exile from repressive governments, communities, and families. Many pieces have a political urgency that reflects their authors’ work as activists, teachers, community organizers, and performers. Desire commingles with ostracism and alienation throughout: in the evocative portrayals of same-sex love and longing, and in the selections addressing religion, family, race, and class. From the poem “Saturday Night in San Juan with the Right Sailors” to the poignant narrative “We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This?” to an eloquent call for the embrace of difference that appeared in the Nassau Daily Tribune on the eve of an anti-gay protest, Our Caribbean is a brave and necessary book.Contributors: José Alcántara Almánzar, Aldo Alvarez, Reinaldo Arenas, Rane Arroyo, Jesús J. Barquet, Marilyn Bobes, Dionne Brand, Timothy S. Chin, Michelle Cliff, Wesley E. A. Crichlow,
Mabel Rodríguez Cuesta, Ochy Curiel, Faizal Deen, Pedro de Jesús, R. Erica Doyle, Thomas Glave,
Rosamond S. King, Helen Klonaris, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, Audre Lorde, Shani Mootoo,
Anton Nimblett, Achy Obejas, Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Virgilio Piñera, Patricia Powell, Kevin Everod Quashie, Juanita Ramos, Colin Robinson, Assotto Saint, Andrew Salkey, Lawrence Scott,
Makeda Silvera, H. Nigel Thomas, Rinaldo Walcott, Gloria Wekker, Lawson Williams


Click for more detail about Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country by Tiya Miles and Sharon Patricia Holland Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country

by Tiya Miles and Sharon Patricia Holland
Duke University Press Books (Oct 19, 2006)
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Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds explores the critically neglected intersection of Native and African American cultures. This interdisciplinary collection combines historical studies of the complex relations between blacks and Indians in Native communities with considerations and examples of various forms of cultural expression that have emerged from their intertwined histories. The contributors include scholars of African American and Native American studies, English, history, anthropology, law, and performance studies, as well as fiction writers, poets, and a visual artist.Essays range from a close reading of the 1838 memoirs of a black and Native freewoman to an analysis of how Afro-Native intermarriage has impacted the identities and federal government classifications of certain New England Indian tribes. One contributor explores the aftermath of black slavery in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, highlighting issues of culture and citizenship. Another scrutinizes the controversy that followed the 1998 selection of a Miss Navajo Nation who had an African American father. A historian examines the status of Afro-Indians in colonial Mexico, and an ethnographer reflects on oral histories gathered from Afro-Choctaws. Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds includes evocative readings of several of Toni Morrison’s novels, interpretations of plays by African American and First Nations playwrights, an original short story by Roberta J. Hill, and an interview with the Creek poet and musician Joy Harjo. The Native American scholar Robert Warrior develops a theoretical model for comparative work through an analysis of black and Native intellectual production. In his afterword, he reflects on the importance of the critical project advanced by this volume.Contributors. Jennifer D. Brody, Tamara Buffalo, David A. Y. O. Chang, Robert Keith Collins, Roberta J. Hill, Sharon P. Holland, ku’ualoha ho’omnawanui, Deborah E. Kanter, Virginia Kennedy, Barbara Krauthamer, Tiffany M. McKinney, Melinda Micco, Tiya Miles, Celia E. Naylor, Eugene B. Redmond, Wendy S. Walters, Robert Warrior


Click for more detail about The Last ’Darky’: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (a John Hope Franklin Center Book) by Louis Chude-Sokei The Last ’Darky’: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (a John Hope Franklin Center Book)

by Louis Chude-Sokei
Duke University Press Books (Jan 16, 2006)
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The Last “Darky” establishes Bert Williams, the comedian of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth, as central to the development of a global black modernism centered in Harlem’s Renaissance. Before integrating Broadway in 1910 via a controversial stint with the Ziegfeld Follies, Williams was already an international icon. Yet his name has faded into near obscurity, his extraordinary accomplishments forgotten largely because he performed in blackface. Louis Chude-Sokei contends that Williams’s blackface was not a display of internalized racism nor a submission to the expectations of the moment. It was an appropriation and exploration of the contradictory and potentially liberating power of racial stereotypes.Chude-Sokei makes the crucial argument that Williams’s minstrelsy negotiated the place of black immigrants in the cultural hotbed of New York City and was replicated throughout the African diaspora, from the Caribbean to Africa itself. Williams was born in the Bahamas. When performing the “darky,” he was actually masquerading as an African American. This black-on-black minstrelsy thus challenged emergent racial constructions equating “black” with African American and marginalizing the many diasporic blacks in New York. It also dramatized the practice of passing for African American common among non-American blacks in an African American–dominated Harlem. Exploring the thought of figures such as Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Claude McKay, Chude-Sokei situates black-on-black minstrelsy at the center of burgeoning modernist discourses of assimilation, separatism, race militancy, carnival, and internationalism. While these discourses were engaged with the question of representing the “Negro” in the context of white racism, through black-on-black minstrelsy they were also deployed against the growing international influence of African American culture and politics in the twentieth century.


Click for more detail about We Flew Over The Bridge: The Memoirs Of Faith Ringgold by Faith Ringgold We Flew Over The Bridge: The Memoirs Of Faith Ringgold

by Faith Ringgold
Duke University Press Books (Mar 11, 2005)
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In We Flew over the Bridge, one of the country’s preeminent African American artists—and award-winning children’s book authors—shares the fascinating story of her life. Faith Ringgold’s artworks—startling “story quilts,” politically charged paintings, and more—hang in the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and other major museums around the world, as well as in the private collections of Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby, and Oprah Winfrey. Her children’s books, including the Caldecott Honor Book Tar Beach, have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. But Ringgold’s path to success has not been easy. In this gorgeously illustrated memoir, she looks back and shares the story of her struggles, growth, and triumphs. Ringgold recollects how she had to surmount a wall of prejudices as she worked to refine her artistic vision and raise a family. At the same time, the story she tells is one of warm family memories and sustaining friendships, community involvement, and hope for the future.


Click for more detail about Dark Designs and Visual Culture by Michele Wallace Dark Designs and Visual Culture

by Michele Wallace
Duke University Press Books (Dec 06, 2004)
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Michele Wallace burst into public consciousness with the 1979 publication of Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, a pioneering critique of the misogyny of the Black Power movement and the effects of racism and sexism on black women. Since then, Wallace has produced an extraordinary body of journalism and criticism engaging with popular culture and gender and racial politics. This collection brings together more than fifty of the articles she has written over the past fifteen years. Included alongside many of her best-known pieces are previously unpublished essays as well as interviews conducted with Wallace about her work. Dark Designs and Visual Culture charts the development of a singular, pathbreaking black feminist consciousness.Beginning with a new introduction in which Wallace reflects on her life and career, this volume includes other autobiographical essays; articles focused on popular culture, the arts, and literary theory; and explorations of issues in black visual culture. Wallace discusses growing up in Harlem; how she dealt with the media attention and criticism she received for Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, which was published when she was just twenty-seven years old; and her relationship with her family, especially her mother, the well-known artist Faith Ringgold. The many articles devoted to black visual culture range from the historical tragedy of the Hottentot Venus, an African woman displayed as a curiosity in nineteenth-century Europe, to films that sexualize the black body—such as Watermelon Woman, Gone with the Wind, and Paris Is Burning. Whether writing about the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings, rap music, the Million Man March, Toshi Reagon, multiculturalism, Marlon Riggs, or a nativity play in Bedford Stuyvesant, Wallace is a bold, incisive critic. Dark Designs and Visual Culture brings the scope of her career and thought into sharp focus.


Click for more detail about Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity by E. Patrick Johnson Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity

by E. Patrick Johnson
Duke University Press Books (Aug 13, 2003)
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Performance artist and scholar E. Patrick Johnson’s provocative study examines how blackness is appropriated and performed—toward widely divergent ends—both within and outside African American culture. Appropriating Blackness develops from the contention that blackness in the United States is necessarily a politicized identity—avowed and disavowed, attractive and repellent, fixed and malleable. Drawing on performance theory, queer studies, literary analysis, film criticism, and ethnographic fieldwork, Johnson describes how diverse constituencies persistently try to prescribe the boundaries of "authentic" blackness and how performance highlights the futility of such enterprises.Johnson looks at various sites of performed blackness, including Marlon Riggs’s influential documentary Black Is . . . Black Ain’t and comedic routines by Eddie Murphy, David Alan Grier, and Damon Wayans. He analyzes nationalist writings by Amiri Baraka and Eldridge Cleaver, the vernacular of black gay culture, an oral history of his grandmother’s experience as a domestic worker in the South, gospel music as performed by a white Australian choir, and pedagogy in a performance studies classroom. By exploring the divergent aims and effects of these performances—ranging from resisting racism, sexism, and homophobia to excluding sexual dissidents from the black community—Johnson deftly analyzes the multiple significations of blackness and their myriad political implications. His reflexive account considers his own complicity, as ethnographer and teacher, in authenticating narratives of blackness.


Click for more detail about Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies (New Americanists) by Elizabeth McHenry Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies (New Americanists)

by Elizabeth McHenry
Duke University Press Books (Oct 31, 2002)
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Over the past decade the popularity of black writers including E. Lynn Harris and Terry McMillan has been hailed as an indication that an active African American reading public has come into being. Yet this is not a new trend; there is a vibrant history of African American literacy, literary associations, and book clubs. Forgotten Readers reveals that neglected past, looking at the reading practices of free blacks in the antebellum north and among African Americans following the Civil War. It places the black upper and middle classes within American literary history, illustrating how they used reading and literary conversation as a means to assert their civic identities and intervene in the political and literary cultures of the United States from which they were otherwise excluded.Forgotten Readers expands our definition of literacy and urges us to think of literature as broadly as it was conceived of in the nineteenth century. Elizabeth McHenry delves into archival sources, including the records of past literary societies and the unpublished writings of their members. She examines particular literary associations, including the Saturday Nighters of Washington, D.C., whose members included Jean Toomer and Georgia Douglas Johnson. She shows how black literary societies developed, their relationship to the black press, and the ways that African American women’s clubs—which flourished during the 1890s—encouraged literary activity. In an epilogue, McHenry connects this rich tradition of African American interest in books, reading, and literary conversation to contemporary literary phenomena such as Oprah Winfrey’s book club.


Click for more detail about Gay Rebel of the Harlem Renaissance: Selections from the Work of Richard Bruce Nugent by Richard Bruce Nugent Gay Rebel of the Harlem Renaissance: Selections from the Work of Richard Bruce Nugent

by Richard Bruce Nugent
Duke University Press Books (May 23, 2002)
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Richard Bruce Nugent (1906–1987) was a writer, painter, illustrator, and popular bohemian personality who lived at the center of the Harlem Renaissance. Protégé of Alain Locke, roommate of Wallace Thurman, and friend of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, the precocious Nugent stood for many years as the only African-American writer willing to clearly pronounce his homosexuality in print. His contribution to the landmark publication FIRE!!, “Smoke, Lilies and Jade,” was unprecedented in its celebration of same-sex desire. A resident of the notorious “Niggeratti Manor,” Nugent also appeared on Broadway in Porgy (the 1927 play) and Run, Little Chillun (1933)
Thomas H. Wirth, a close friend of Nugent’s during the last years of the artist’s life, has assembled a selection of Nugent’s most important writings, paintings, and drawings—works mostly unpublished or scattered in rare and obscure publications and collected here for the first time. Wirth has written an introduction providing biographical information about Nugent’s life and situating his art in relation to the visual and literary currents which influenced him. A foreword by Henry Louis Gates Jr. emphasizes the importance of Nugent for African American history and culture.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Passed on: African American Mourning Stories: A Memorial by Karla F.C. Holloway Passed on: African American Mourning Stories: A Memorial

by Karla F.C. Holloway
Duke University Press Books (Feb 01, 2002)
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Passed On is a portrait of death and dying in twentieth-century African America. Through poignant reflection and thorough investigation of the myths, rituals, economics, and politics of African American mourning and burial practices, Karla FC Holloway finds that ways of dying are just as much a part of black identity as ways of living. Gracefully interweaving interviews, archival research, and analyses of literature, film, and music, Holloway shows how the vulnerability of African Americans to untimely death is inextricably linked to how black culture represents itself and is represented.
With a focus on the “death-care” industry—black funeral homes and morticians, the history of the profession and its practices—Holloway examines all facets of the burial business, from physicians, hospital chaplains, and hospice administrators, to embalming- chemical salesmen, casket makers, and funeral directors, to grieving relatives. She uses narrative, photographs, and images to summon a painful history of lynchings, white rage and riot, medical malpractice and neglect, executions, and neighborhood violence. Specialized caskets sold to African Americans, formal burial photos of infants, and deathbed stories, unveil a glimpse of the graveyards and burial sites of African America, along with burial rituals and funeral ceremonies.
Revealing both unexpected humor and anticipated tragedy, Holloway tells a story of the experiences of black folk in the funeral profession and its clientele. She also reluctantly shares the story of her son and the way his death moved her research from page to person.
In the conclusion, which follows a sermon delivered by Maurice O. Wallace at the funeral for the author’s son, Bem, Holloway strives to commemorate—through observation, ceremony, and the calling of others to remembrance and celebration.


Click for more detail about George Washington Williams: A Biography by John Hope Franklin George Washington Williams: A Biography

by John Hope Franklin
Duke University Press Books (May 01, 1983)
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In George Washington Williams, John Hope Franklin reconstructs the life of the controversial, self-made black intellectual who wrote the first history of African Americans in the United States. Awarded the Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize, this book traces Franklin’s forty-year quest for Williams’s story, a story largely lost to history until this volume was first published in 1985. The result, part biography and part social history, is a unique consideration of a pioneering historian by his most distinguished successor.
Williams, who lived from 1849 to 1891, had a remarkable career as soldier, minister, journalist, lawyer, politician, freelance diplomat, and African traveler, as well as a historian. While Franklin reveals the accomplishments of this neglected figure and emphasizes the racism that curtailed Williams’s many talents, he also highlights the personal weaknesses that damaged Williams’s relationships and career. Williams led the way in presenting African American history accurately through the use of oral history and archival research, sought to legitimize it as a field of historical study, and spoke out in support of an American Negro Historical Society and as a critic of European imperialism in Africa. He also became erratic and faithless to his family and creditors and died at the age of forty-one, destitute and alienated from family and friends. George Washington Williams is nothing less than a classic biography of a brilliant though flawed individual whose History of the Negro Race in America remains a landmark in African American history and American intellectual history.