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Found 53 Books Published by Oxford University Press — Book Cover Mosaic

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Click for more detail about “Who Set You Flowin’?”: The African-American Migration Narrative (Race And American Culture) by Farah Jasmine Griffin “Who Set You Flowin’?”: The African-American Migration Narrative (Race And American Culture)

by Farah Jasmine Griffin
Oxford University Press (Sep 26, 1996)
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Twentieth-century America has witnessed the most widespread and sustained movement of African-Americans from the South to urban centers in the North. Who Set You Flowin’? examines the impact of this dislocation and urbanization, identifying the resulting Migration Narratives as a major genre in African-American cultural production. Griffin takes an interdisciplinary approach with readings of several literary texts, migrant correspondence, painting, photography, rap music, blues, and rhythm and blues. From these various sources Griffin isolates the tropes of Ancestor, Stranger, and Safe Space, which, though common to all Migration Narratives, vary in their portrayal. She argues that the emergence of a dominant portrayal of these tropes is the product of the historical and political moment, often challenged by alternative portrayals in other texts or artistic forms, as well as intra-textually. Richard Wright’s bleak, yet cosmopolitan portraits were countered by Dorothy West’s longing for Black Southern communities. Ralph Ellison, while continuing Wright’s vision, reexamined the significance of Black Southern culture. Griffin concludes with Toni Morrison embracing the South "as a site of African-American history and culture," "a place to be redeemed."


Click for more detail about American Slavery: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Heather Andrea Williams American Slavery: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

by Heather Andrea Williams
Oxford University Press (Nov 03, 2014)
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Europeans, Africans, and American Indians practiced slavery long before the first purchase of a captive African by a white land-owner in the American colonies; that, however, is the image of slavery most prevalent in the minds of Americans today. This Very Short Introduction begins with the Portuguese capture of Africans in the 1400s and traces the development of American slavery until its abolition following the Civil War. Historian Heather Andrea Williams draws upon the rich recent scholarship of numerous highly-regarded academics as well as an analysis of primary documents to explore the history of slavery and its effects on the American colonies and later the United States of America. Williams examines legislation that differentiated American Indians and Africans from Europeans as the ideology of white supremacy flourished and became an ingrained feature of the society. These laws reflected the contradiction of America’s moral and philosophical ideology that valorized freedom on one hand and justified the enslavement of a population deemed inferior on another. She explores the tense and often violent relationships between the enslaved and the enslavers, and between abolitionists and pro-slavery advocates as those who benefited from the institution fought to maintain and exert their power.

Williams is attentive to the daily labors that enslaved people performed, reminding readers that slavery was a system of forced labor with economic benefits that produced wealth for a new nation, all the while leaving an indelible mark on its history.

About the Series:
Oxford’s Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects—from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative—yet always balanced and complete—discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.


Click for more detail about Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture by Michael Eric Dyson Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture

by Michael Eric Dyson
Oxford University Press (Jan 30, 1997)
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A former welfare father from the ghetto of Detroit, Michael Eric Dyson is today a critic, scholar, and ordained Baptist minister who has forged a unique role: he is a compelling spokesman for the concerns of the black community, and also a leader who has a genuine rapport with that community, particularly with urban youth. In his essays, lectures, sermons, and books, he has emerged as one of the leading African-American voices of our day. Dyson’s passion for contemporary black culture informs Between God and Gangsta’ Rap, his latest foray into the ongoing debate about African-American identity which embraces the hopes of the church and the cool reality of hip-hop. Bringing together writings on music, religion, politics, and identity, and offering a multi-faceted view of black life, the book charts the progress of Dyson’s own soul, from his roots in the Detroit ghetto, to his current status as a Baptist minister, professor, cultural critic, husband, and father. Dyson opens with a letter to his brother, who is serving life in prison on a murder charge. This painful piece reveals a violence in the author’s own family that sets the tone for themes that will emerge throughout these writings: violence on the black body and soul; the redemptive power of hope through school, church, and family; sexuality as a source of anguish and of joy; and the struggle with entrenched white racism. There is a section of wonderful profiles Dyson calls "Testimonials"—studies of black men, from O.J. Simpson to Marion Barry, and from Baptist preacher Gardner Taylor to Michael Jordan and Sam Cooke. In "Obsessed with O.J.," Dyson offers an extremely personal and insightful series of reflections on the case. In "Lessons," Dyson takes up the subjects of politics and racial identity. Newt Gingrich and moral panic, Quabiliah Shabazz, Carol Moseley Braun, the NAACP, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X all figure in these insightful and accessible pieces. And "Songs of Celebration" draws from Dyson’s writings for the popular press such as Rolling Stone and Vibe, and explores the joys and pitfalls of black expression, from the black vernacular bible to gospel music, R & B, and hip-hop. Dyson concludes with an essay framed as a letter to his wife, which offers a positive counterbalance to the opening address to his brother. The letter serves as a tribute to the redemptive powers of love, the black family, spirit, and change. Arguing that the richness of black culture today can be found in the interstices—between god and gangsta’ rap—Dyson charts the progress and pain of African Americans over the past decade, showing that brilliance and beauty, pain and drudgery are components of this changing culture. As a compendium of his thinking about contemporary culture Between God and Gangsta’ Rap will find a wide audience among black and white readers.


Click for more detail about Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream by Christina M. Greer Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream

by Christina M. Greer
Oxford University Press (Jun 06, 2013)
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The steady immigration of black populations from Africa and the Caribbean over the past few decades has fundamentally changed the racial, ethnic, and political landscape in the United States. But how will these “new blacks” behave politically in America? Using an original survey of New York City workers and multiple national data sources, Christina M. Greer explores the political significance of ethnicity for new immigrant and native-born blacks. In an age where racial and ethnic identities intersect, intertwine, and interact in increasingly complex ways, Black Ethnics offers a powerful and rigorous analysis of black politics and coalitions in the post-Civil Rights era.


Click for more detail about Black Misery by Langston Hughes Black Misery

by Langston Hughes
Oxford University Press (Jul 21, 1994)
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Black Misery was first published in 1969, but the gentle, funny, and sometimes melancholy words of Langston Hughes still cause a blink of recognition. After 25 years, it remains relevant in our own time. As you turn the pages you may say, "I remember feeling like that!" You may say, "I feel like that now."

As you look at Arouni’s black and white illustrations and read the short but powerful one sentence captions, you feel the predicament of a black child adjusting to the new world of integration of the 1960s. You feel the mix of hope and dismay that characterized the decade.

Langston Hughes was a writer who often made his readers ask hard questions about life. In Black Misery he wrote about prejudice and indifference, but he wrote with humor and compassion. Today—just as we did 25 years ago-we smile and even laugh, and we also understand that some things are more than hard, are more than sad. They are pure misery.
Black Misery was the last book that Langston Hughes wrote. He died in May 1967, while working on the manuscript.

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Book Review

Click for more detail about Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement by Tomiko Brown-Nagin Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement

by Tomiko Brown-Nagin
Oxford University Press (Feb 09, 2011)
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In this Bancroft Prize-winning history of the Civil Rights movement in Atlanta from the end of World War II to 1980, Tomiko Brown-Nagin shows that long before "black power" emerged and gave black dissent from the mainstream civil rights agenda a name, African Americans in Atlanta questioned the meaning of equality and the steps necessary to obtain a share of the American dream. This groundbreaking book uncovers the activism of visionaries—both well-known figures and unsung citizens—from across the ideological spectrum who sought something different from, or more complicated than, "integration." Local activists often played leading roles in carrying out the agenda of the NAACP, but some also pursued goals that differed markedly from those of the venerable civil rights organization. Brown-Nagin documents debates over politics, housing, public accommodations, and schools. Exploring the complex interplay between the local and national, between lawyers and communities, between elites and grassroots, and between middle-class and working-class African Americans, Courage to Dissent transforms our understanding of the Civil Rights era.


Click for more detail about Creating Black Americans: African American History and Its Meanings, 1619 to the Present by Nell Irvin Painter Creating Black Americans: African American History and Its Meanings, 1619 to the Present

by Nell Irvin Painter
Oxford University Press (Nov 01, 2005)
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Here is a magnificent account of a past rich in beauty and creativity, but also in tragedy and trauma. Eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter blends a vivid narrative based on the latest research with a wonderful array of artwork by African American artists, works which add a new depth to our understanding of black history.
Painter offers a history written for a new generation of African Americans, stretching from life in Africa before slavery to today’s hip-hop culture. The book describes the staggering number of Africans—over ten million—forcibly transported to the New World, most doomed to brutal servitude in Brazil and the Caribbean. Painter looks at the free black population, numbering close to half a million by 1860 (compared to almost four million slaves), and provides a gripping account of the horrible conditions of slavery itself. The book examines the Civil War, revealing that it only slowly became a war to end slavery, and shows how Reconstruction, after a promising start, was shut down by terrorism by white supremacists. Painter traces how through the long Jim Crow decades, blacks succeeded against enormous odds, creating schools and businesses and laying the foundations of our popular culture. We read about the glorious outburst of artistic creativity of the Harlem Renaissance, the courageous struggles for Civil Rights in the 1960s, the rise and fall of Black Power, the modern hip-hop movement, and two black Secretaries of State. Painter concludes that African Americans today are wealthier and better educated, but the disadvantaged are as vulnerable as ever.
Painter deeply enriches her narrative with a series of striking works of art—more than 150 in total, most in full color—works that profoundly engage with black history and that add a vital dimension to the story, a new form of witness that testifies to the passion and creativity of the African-American experience.

* Among the dozens of artists featured are Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Beauford Delaney, Jacob Lawrence, and Kara Walker

* Filled with sharp portraits of important African Americans, from Olaudah Equiano (one of the first African slaves to leave a record of his captivity) and Toussaint L’Ouverture (who led the Haitian revolution), to Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

Book Review

Click for more detail about Creating Their Own Image: The History of African-American Women Artists by Lisa E. Farrington Creating Their Own Image: The History of African-American Women Artists

by Lisa E. Farrington
Oxford University Press (Dec 30, 2004)
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Creating Their Own Image marks the first comprehensive history of African-American women artists, from slavery to the present day. Using an analysis of stereotypes of Africans and African-Americans in western art and culture as a springboard, Lisa E. Farrington here richly details hundreds of important works—many of which deliberately challenge these same identity myths, of the carnal Jezebel, the asexual Mammy, the imperious Matriarch—in crafting a portrait of artistic creativity unprecedented in its scope and ambition. In these lavishly illustrated pages, some of which feature images never before published, we learn of the efforts of Elizabeth Keckley, fashion designer to Mary Todd Lincoln; the acclaimed sculptor Edmonia Lewis, internationally renowned for her neoclassical works in marble; and the artist Nancy Elizabeth Prophet and her innovative teaching techniques. We meet Laura Wheeler Waring who portrayed women of color as members of a socially elite class in stark contrast to the prevalent images of compliant maids, impoverished malcontents, and exotics "others" that proliferated in the inter-war period. We read of the painter Barbara Jones-Hogu’s collaboration on the famed Wall of Respect, even as we view a rare photograph of Hogu in the process of painting the mural. Farrington expertly guides us through the fertile period of the Harlem Renaissance and the "New Negro Movement," which produced an entirely new crop of artists who consciously imbued their work with a social and political agenda, and through the tumultuous, explosive years of the civil rights movement. Drawing on revealing interviews with numerous contemporary artists, such as Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Nanette Carter, Camille Billops, Xenobia Bailey, and many others, the second half of Creating Their Own Image probes more recent stylistic developments, such as abstraction, conceptualism, and post-modernism, never losing sight of the struggles and challenges that have consistently influenced this body of work. Weaving together an expansive collection of artists, styles, and periods, Farrington argues that for centuries African-American women artists have created an alternative vision of how women of color can, are, and might be represented in American culture. From utilitarian objects such as quilts and baskets to a wide array of fine arts, Creating Their Own Image serves up compelling evidence of the fundamental human need to convey one’s life, one’s emotions, one’s experiences, on a canvas of one’s own making.


Click for more detail about Defining Creole by John McWhorter Defining Creole

by John McWhorter
Oxford University Press (Feb 03, 2005)
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A conventional wisdom among creolists is that creole is a sociohistorical term only: that creole languages share a particular history entailing adults rapidly acquiring a language usually under conditions of subordination, but that structurally they are indistinguishable from other languages. The articles by John H. McWhorter collected in this volume demonstrate that this is in fact untrue.

Creole languages, while complex and nuanced as all human languages are, are delineable from older languages as the result of their having come into existence only a few centuries ago. Then adults learn a language under untutored conditions, they abbreviate its structure, focusing upon features vital to communication and shaving away most of the features useless to communication that bedevil those acquiring the language non-natively. When they utilize their rendition of the language consistently enough to create a brand-new one, this new creation naturally evinces evidence of its youth: specifically, a much lower degree of the random accretions typical in older languages, which only develop over vast periods of time.

The articles constitute a case for this thesis based on both broad, cross-creole ranges of data and focused expositions referring to single creole languages. The book presents a general case for a theory of language contact and creolization in which not only transfer from source languages but also structural reduction plays a central role, based on facts whose marginality of address in creole studies has arisen from issues sociopolitical as well as scientific. For several decades the very definition of the term creole has been elusive even among creole specialists. This book attempts to forge a path beyond the inter- and intra-disciplinary misunderstandings and stalemates that have resulted from this, and to demonstrate the place that creoles might occupy in other linguistic subfields, including typology, language contact, and syntactic theory.


Click for more detail about Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America by Sylviane A. Diouf Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America

by Sylviane A. Diouf
Oxford University Press (Mar 09, 2007)
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In the summer of 1860, more than fifty years after the United States legally abolished the international slave trade, 110 men, women, and children from Benin and Nigeria were brought ashore in Alabama under cover of night. They were the last recorded group of Africans deported to the United States as slaves. Timothy Meaher, an established Mobile businessman, sent the slave ship, the Clotilda , to Africa, on a bet that he could "bring a shipful of niggers right into Mobile Bay under the officers’ noses." He won the bet.

This book reconstructs the lives of the people in West Africa, recounts their capture and passage in the slave pen in Ouidah, and describes their experience of slavery alongside American-born enslaved men and women. After emancipation, the group reunited from various plantations, bought land, and founded their own settlement, known as African Town. They ruled it according to customary African laws, spoke their own regional language and, when giving interviews, insisted that writers use their African names so that their families would know that they were still alive.

The last survivor of the Clotilda died in 1935, but African Town is still home to a community of Clotilda descendants. The publication of Dreams of Africa in Alabama marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

Winner of the Wesley-Logan Prize of the American Historical Association (2007)


Click for more detail about Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the “Racial“ Self by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the “Racial“ Self

by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Oxford University Press (Nov 30, 1989)
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For over two centuries, critics and the black community have tended to approach African-American literature as simply one more front in the important war against racism, valuing slave narratives and twentieth-century works alike, primarily for their political impact. In this volume, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a leading scholar in African-American studies, attacks the notion of African-American literature as a kind of social realism. Insisting, instead, that critics focus on the most repressed element of African-American criticism--the language of the text--Gates advocates the use of a close, methodical analysis of language, made possible by modern literary theory. Throughout his study, Gates incorporates the theoretical insights of critics such as Bakhtin, Foucault, Lacan, Derrida, and Bloom, as he examines the modes of representation that define black art and analyzes the unspoken assumptions made in judging this literature since its inception. Ranging from the eighteenth-century poet, Phillis Wheatley, to modern writers, Ishmael Reed and Alice Walker, Gates seeks to redefine literary criticism itself, moving away from a Eurocentric notion of a hierarchical canon--mostly white, Western, and male--to foster a truly comparative and pluralistic notion of literature.


Click for more detail about Harlem Renaissance by Nathan Huggins Harlem Renaissance

by Nathan Huggins
Oxford University Press (May 02, 2007)
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A finalist for the 1972 National Book Award, hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "brilliant" and "provocative," Nathan Huggins' Harlem Renaissance is a milestone in the study of African-American life and culture.

A superb portrait of one of the signal episodes in African-American and American history, this volume offers a brilliant account of the creative explosion in Harlem during these pivotal years. Blending the fields of history, literature, music, psychology, and folklore, Huggins illuminates the thought and writing of such key figures as Alain Locke, James Weldon Johnson, and W.E.B. DuBois and provides sharp-eyed analyses of the poetry of Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, and Langston Hughes. But the main objective for Huggins, throughout the book, is always to achieve a better understanding of America as a whole. As Huggins himself noted, he didn't want Harlem in the 1920s to be the focus of the book so much as a lens through which readers might see how this one moment in time sheds light on the American character and culture, not just in Harlem but across the nation. He strives throughout to link the work of poets and novelists not only to artists working in other genres and media but also to economic, historical, and cultural forces in the culture at large.


Click for more detail about I Am Your Sister: Collected And Unpublished Writings Of Audre Lorde (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies In Black Politics And Black Communities) by Audre Lorde I Am Your Sister: Collected And Unpublished Writings Of Audre Lorde (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies In Black Politics And Black Communities)

by Audre Lorde
Oxford University Press (Apr 21, 2009)
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Audre Lorde was not only a famous poet; she was also one of the most important radical black feminists of the past century. Her writings and speeches grappled with an impressive broad list of topics, including sexuality, race, gender, class, disease, the arts, parenting, and resistance, and they have served as a transformative and important foundation for theorists and activists in considering questions of power and social justice. Lorde embraced difference, and at each turn she emphasized the importance of using it to build shared strength among marginalized communities.

I Am Your Sister is a collection of Lorde’s non-fiction prose, written between 1976 and 1990, and it introduces new perspectives on the depth and range of Lorde’s intellectual interests and her commitments to progressive social change. Presented here, for the first time in print, is a major body of Lorde’s speeches and essays, along with the complete text of A Burst of Light and Lorde’s landmark prose works Sister Outsider and The Cancer Journals. Together, these writings reveal Lorde’s commitment to a radical course of thought and action, situating her works within the women’s, gay and lesbian, and African American Civil Rights movements. They also place her within a continuum of black feminists, from Sojourner Truth, to Anna Julia Cooper, Amy Jacques Garvey, Lorraine Hansberry, and Patricia Hill Collins. I Am Your Sister concludes with personal reflections from Alice Walker, Gloria Joseph, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, and bell hooks on Lorde’s political and social commitments and the indelibility of her writings for all who are committed to a more equitable society.


Click for more detail about In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture by Kwame Anthony Appiah In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture

by Kwame Anthony Appiah
Oxford University Press (Apr 02, 1992)
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Africa’s intellectuals have long been engaged in a conversation with each other, and with Europeans and Americans about what it means to be African. At the heart of these debates on African identity are the seminal works of politicians, creative writers and philosophers from Africa and its diaspora. In this book, Appiah draws on his experiences as a Ghanaian in the New World to explore the writings of these African and African-American thinkers and to contribute his own vision of the possibilities and pitfalls of an African identity in the late twentieth century. Appiah sets out to dismantle the specious oppositions between "us" and "them," the West and the Rest, that have governed so much of the cultural debate about Africa in the modern world. All of us, he maintains, wherever we live on the planet, must explore together the relations between our local cultures and an increasingly global civilization. Combining philosophical analysis with more personal reflections, Appiah addresses the major issues in the philosophy of culture through an exploration of the contemporary African predicament.


Click for more detail about In Search of Democracy: The NAACP Writings of James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and Roy Wilkins (1920-1977) by Sondra Kathryn Wilson In Search of Democracy: The NAACP Writings of James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and Roy Wilkins (1920-1977)

by Sondra Kathryn Wilson
Oxford University Press (Aug 05, 1999)
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This collection of writings offers a glimpse into the minds of three N.A.A.C.P. leaders who occupied the center of black thought and action during some of the most troublesome and pivotal times of the civil rights movement. The volume delineates fifty-seven years of the N.A.A.C.P.’s program under the successive direction of James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and Roy Wilkins. These writings illustrate the vital roles of these three leaders in building a peoples liberation, underscoring not only their progressive influence throughout their time in power, but also a vision of the future as race relations enter the 21st Century. Much of the material, notably "The Secretary’s Reports to the Board," is published here for the first time, offering an invaluable resource for those seeking a deeper knowledge of the history of race in America


Click for more detail about In Search of the Promised Land: A Slave Family in the Old South (New Narratives in American History) by John Hope Franklin In Search of the Promised Land: A Slave Family in the Old South (New Narratives in American History)

by John Hope Franklin
Oxford University Press (Sep 01, 2005)
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The matriarch of a remarkable African American family, Sally Thomas went from being a slave on a tobacco plantation, to a "virtually free" slave who ran her own business and purchased one of her sons out of bondage. In Search of the Promised Land offers a vivid portrait of the extended Thomas-Rapier family and of the life of slaves before the Civil War.
Based on family letters as well as an autobiography by one of Thomas’ sons, this remarkable piece of detective work follows a singular group as they walk the boundary between slave and free, traveling across the country in search of a "promised land" where African Americans would be treated with respect. Their record of these journeys provides a vivid picture of antebellum America, stretching from New Orleans to St. Louis, from the Overland Trail to the California Gold Rush, and from Civil War battles to steamboat adventures. John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger weave a compelling narrative that illuminates the larger themes of slavery and freedom. To a remarkable degree, this small family experienced the full gamut of slavery, witnessing everything from the breakup of slave families, brutal punishment, and runaways, to miscegenation, insurrection panics, and slave patrols. They also illuminate the hidden lives of " virtually free" slaves, who maintained close relationships with whites, maneuvered within the system, and gained a large measure of autonomy.
The Thomas-Rapiers were keen observers of the human condition. Through the eyes of this exceptional family and the indomitable black woman who held them together, we witness aspects of human bondage otherwise hidden from view.


Click for more detail about In The Matter Of Color: Race And The American Legal Process: The Colonial Period by A. Leon Higginbotham In The Matter Of Color: Race And The American Legal Process: The Colonial Period

by A. Leon Higginbotham
Oxford University Press (May 29, 1980)
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Focusing on the actions and attitudes of the courts, legislatures, and public servants in six colonies, Judge Higginbotham shows ways in which the law has contributed to injustices suffered by Black Americans
Title: In the Matter of Color
Author: Higginbotham, Leon
Oxford Univ Pr
1980/05/29
Number of
Binding Type: PAPERBACK
Library of Congress: 76051713


Click for more detail about Keepin’ It Real: School Success Beyond Black and White (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities) by Prudence L. Carter Keepin’ It Real: School Success Beyond Black and White (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities)

by Prudence L. Carter
Oxford University Press (Sep 15, 2005)
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Why are so many African American and Latino students performing less well than their Asian and White peers in classes and on exams? Researchers have argued that African American and Latino students who rebel against "acting white" doom themselves to lower levels of scholastic, economic, and social achievement. In Keepin’ It Real: School Success beyond Black and White, Prudence Carter turns the conventional wisdom on its head arguing that what is needed is a broader recognition of the unique cultural styles and practices that non-white students bring to the classroom. Based on extensive interviews and surveys of students in New York, she demonstrates that the most successful negotiators of our school systems are the multicultural navigators, culturally savvy teens who draw from multiple traditions, whether it be knowledge of hip hop or of classical music, to achieve their high ambitions. Keepin’ it Real refutes the common wisdom about teenage behavior and racial difference, and shows how intercultural communication, rather than assimilation, can help close the black-white gap.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars

by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Oxford University Press (May 20, 1993)
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Multiculturalism. It has been the subject of cover stories in Time and Newsweek, as well as numerous articles in newspapers and magazines around America. It has sparked heated jeremiads by George Will, Dinesh D’Sousa, and Roger Kimball. It moved William F. Buckley to rail against Stanley Fish and Catherine Stimpson on “Firing Line.” It is arguably the most hotly debated topic in America today--and justly so. For whether one speaks of tensions between Hasidim and African-Americans in Crown Heights, or violent mass protests against Moscow in ethnic republics such as Armenia, or outright war between Serbs and Bosnians in the former Yugoslavia, it is clear that the clash of cultures is a worldwide problem, deeply felt, passionately expressed, always on the verge of violent explosion. Problems of this magnitude inevitably frame the discussion of “multiculturalism” and “cultural diversity” in the American classroom as well. In Loose Canons, one of America’s leading literary and cultural critics, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., offers a broad, illuminating look at this highly contentious issue. Gates agrees that our world is deeply divided by nationalism, racism, and sexism, and argues that the only way to transcend these divisions--to forge a civic culture that respects both differences and similarities--is through education that respects both the diversity and commonalities of human culture. His is a plea for cultural and intercultural understanding. (You can’t understand the world, he observes, if you exclude 90 percent of the world’s cultural heritage.) We feel his ideas most strongly voiced in the concluding essay in the volume, “Trading on the Margin.” Avoiding the stridency of both the Right and the Left, Gates concludes that the society we have made simply won’t survive without the values of tolerance, and cultural tolerance comes to nothing without cultural understanding. Henry Louis Gates is one of the most visible and outspoken figures on the academic scene, the subject of a cover story in The New York Times Sunday Magazine and a major profile in The Boston Globe, and a much sought-after commentator. And as one of America’s foremost advocates of African-American Studies (he is head of the department at Harvard), he has reflected upon the varied meanings of multiculturalism throughout his professional career, long before it became a national controversy. What we find in these pages, then, is the fruit of years of reflection on culture, racism, and the “American identity,” and a deep commitment to broadening the literary and cultural horizons of all Americans.


Click for more detail about Mae West: An Icon In Black And White by Jill Watts Mae West: An Icon In Black And White

by Jill Watts
Oxford University Press (Apr 17, 2003)
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"Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?" Mae West invited and promptly captured the imagination of generations. Even today, years after her death, the actress and author is still regarded as the pop archetype of sexual wantonness and ribald humor. But who was this saucy starlet, a woman who was controversial enough to be jailed, pursued by film censors and banned from the airwaves for the revolutionary content of her work, and yet would ascend to the status of film legend?
Sifting through previously untapped sources, author Jill Watts unravels the enigmatic life of Mae West, tracing her early years spent in the Brooklyn subculture of boxers and underworld figures, and follows her journey through burlesque, vaudeville, Broadway and, finally, Hollywood, where she quickly became one of the big screen’s most popular—and colorful—stars. Exploring West’s penchant for contradiction and her carefully perpetuated paradoxes, Watts convincingly argues that Mae West borrowed heavily from African American culture, music, dance and humor, creating a subversive voice for herself by which she artfully challenged society and its assumptions regarding race, class and gender. Viewing West as a trickster, Watts demonstrates that by appropriating for her character the black tradition of double-speak and "signifying," West also may have hinted at her own African-American ancestry and the phenomenon of a black woman passing for white.
This absolutely fascinating study is the first comprehensive, interpretive account of Mae West’s life and work. It reveals a beloved icon as a radically subversive artist consciously creating her own complex image.


Click for more detail about Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X by Michael Eric Dyson Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X

by Michael Eric Dyson
Oxford University Press (Jan 05, 1995)
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Malcolm X’s cultural rebirth—his improbable second coming—brims with irony. The nineties are marked by intense and often angry debates about racial authenticity and "selling out," and the participants in these debates—from politicians to filmmakers to rap artists—often draw on Malcolm’s scorching rebukes to such moves. Meanwhile, Malcolm’s "X" is marketed in countless business endeavors and is stylishly branded on baseball hats and T-shirts sported by every age, race, and gender. But this rampant commercialization is only a small part of Malcolm’s remarkable renaissance. One of the century’s most complex black leaders, he is currently blazing a new path across contemporary popular culture, and has even seared the edges of an academy that once froze him out. Thirty years after his assassination, what is it about his life and words that speaks so powerfully to so many? In Making Malcolm, Michael Eric Dyson probes the myths and meanings of Malcolm X for our time. From Spike Lee’s film biography to Eugene Wolfenstein’s psychobiographical study, from hip-hop culture to gender and racial politics, Dyson cuts a critical swathe through both the idolization and the vicious caricatures that have undermined appreciation of Malcolm’s greatest accomplishments. The book’s first section offers a boldly original and penetrating analysis of the major trends in interpreting Malcolm’s legacy since his death, and the fiercely competing interests and ideologies that have shaped these trends. From mainstream books to writings published by the independent black press, Dyson identifies and examines the different "Malcolms" who have emerged in popular and academic investigations of his life and career: Malcolm as hero and saint; Malcolm as a public moralist; Malcolm as victim and vehicle of psychohistorical forces; and Malcolm as revolutionary figure. With impassioned and compelling force, Dyson argues that Malcolm was too formidable a historic figure—the movements he led too variable and contradictory, the passion and intelligence he summoned too extraordinary and disconcerting—to be viewed through any narrow cultural prism. The second half of the book offers a fascinating exploration of Malcolm’s relationship to a resurgent black nationalism, his influence on contemporary black filmmakers and musicians, and his use in progressive black politics. From sexism and gangsta’ rap to the painful predicament of black males, from the politics of black nationalism to the possibilities of race in the Age of Clinton, Dyson’s trenchant and often inspiring analysis reveals how Malcolm’s legacy continues to spur debate and action today. A rare and important book, Making Malcolm casts new light not only on the life and career of a seminal black leader, but on the aspirations and passions of the growing numbers who have seized on his life for insight and inspiration.


Click for more detail about Malcolm X at Oxford Union: Racial Politics in a Global Era (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities) by Saladin Ambar Malcolm X at Oxford Union: Racial Politics in a Global Era (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities)

by Saladin Ambar
Oxford University Press (Feb 10, 2014)
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In 1964 Malcolm X was invited to debate at the Oxford Union Society at Oxford University. The topic of debate that evening was the infamous phrase from Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Republican Convention speech:"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." At a time when Malcolm was traveling widely and advocating on behalf of blacks in America and other nations, his thirty minute speech at the Oxford Union stands out as one of the great addresses of the civil rights era.

Delivered just months before his assassination, the speech followed a period in which Malcolm had traveled throughout Africa and much of the Muslim world. The journey broadened his political thought to encompass decolonization, the revolutions underway in the developing world, and the relationship between American blacks and non-white populations across the globe-including England.

Facing off against debaters in one of world’s most elite institutions, he delivered a revolutionary message that tackled a staggering array of issues: the nature of national identity; US foreign policy in the developing world; racial politics at home; the experiences of black immigrants in England; and the nature of power in the contemporary world. It represents a moment when his thought had advanced to its furthest point, shedding the parochial concerns of previous years for an increasingly global and humanist approach to ushering in social change.

Set to publish near the fiftieth anniversary of his death, Malcolm X at Oxford Union will reshape our understanding not only of the man himself, but world politics both then and now.


Click for more detail about Notes Of A Hanging Judge: Essays And Reviews, 1979-1989 by Stanley Crouch Notes Of A Hanging Judge: Essays And Reviews, 1979-1989

by Stanley Crouch
Oxford University Press (Mar 28, 1991)
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Stanley Crouch identifies the civil rights movement of the last four decades as the defining feature of contemporary American society. In Notes of a Hanging Judge, he explores it from all sides—from its epochal triumphs and the forces that have nearly destroyed it, through its great artistic and political success stories, to the crime culture it has been powerless to prevent or control—and traces its complex and ambivalent interactions with the feminist and gay dissent that followed its example.
Balancing the passionate involvement of an insider with a reporter’s open-minded rigor, and using his virtuosic prose style, Crouch offers uniquely insightful accounts of familiar public issues—black middle-class life, the Bernhard Goetz case, black homosexuals, the career of Louis Farrakhan—that throw fresh light on the position of Afro-Americans in the contemporary world. Even more revealing are Crouch’s accounts of his travels, focusing on his perceptions as a black man, that put places as diverse as Atlanta and Africa, or Mississippi and Italy, in unique new perspectives. Perhaps most powerful of all are Crouch’s profiles of black leaders ranging from Maynard, to Michael, to Jesse Jackson. Crouch’s stern evaluations have been controversial, especially his vision of the Civil Rights Movement as a noble cause "gone loco," mired in self-defeating ethnic nationalism and condescending self-regard, and conspicuously lacking in the spiritual majesty that ensured its great political victories. His discussions of artistic figures, including extended critiques of Toni Morrison and Spike Lee, have also incited much debate.
Taken together, these essays represent a major reinterpretation of black, and therefore American, culture in our time.


Click for more detail about Notes of a Hanging Judge: Essays and Reviews, 1979-1989 by Stanley Crouch Notes of a Hanging Judge: Essays and Reviews, 1979-1989

by Stanley Crouch
Oxford University Press (Mar 15, 1990)
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Stanley Crouch, the rarely acknowledged but epic nature of the Afro-American experience offers one of the most revealing paths through the spiritual and intellectual thickets of our time, exposing us to ourselves as often through art as through politics. In Notes of a Hanging Judge, Crouch portrays this century as an "Age of Redefinition" for the United States and identifies the Civil Rights Movement as one of its richest metaphors. Crouch explores the movement from all sides—its epochal triumphs and the forces that have nearly destroyed it, its great political and artistic success stories and the crime culture it has been powerless to prevent or to control—and traces its complex and ambivalent interactions with the feminist and gay dissent that followed its example.
Balancing the passionate involvement of an insider with a reporter’s open-minded rigor, and using a virtuosic prose style, Crouch offers uniquely insightful accounts of familiar public issues—black middle-class life, the Bernhard Goetz case, black homosexuals, the career of Louis Farrakhan—that throw fresh light on the position of Afro-Americans in the contemporary world. Even more revealing are Crouch’s accounts of his travels, focusing on his perceptions as a black man, that put places as diverse as Atlanta and Africa, or Mississippi and Italy, in unique new perspectives. Perhaps most powerful of all are Crouch’s profiles of black leaders ranging from Maynard, to Michael, to Jesse Jackson. Crouch’s stern evaluations are sure to be controversial, especially his vision of the Civil Rights Movement as a noble cause "gone loco," mired in self-defeating ethnic nationalism and condescending self-regard, and conspicuously lacking in the spiritual majesty that ensured its great political victories. His discussions of artistic figures, including extended critiques of Toni Morrison and Spike Lee, will also incite much debate.
Taken together, these essays represent a major reinterpretation of black, and therefore American, culture in our time, and should be read by anyone who is serious about either.


Click for more detail about Pride: The Seven Deadly Sins (New York Public Library Lectures in Humanities) by Michael Eric Dyson Pride: The Seven Deadly Sins (New York Public Library Lectures in Humanities)

by Michael Eric Dyson
Oxford University Press (Aug 23, 2006)
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Of the seven deadly sins, pride is the only one with a virtuous side. It is certainly a good thing to have pride in one’s country, in one’s community, in oneself. But when taken too far, as Michael Eric Dyson shows in Pride, these virtues become deadly sins. Dyson, named by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 most influential African Americans, here looks at the many dimensions of pride. Ranging from Augustine and Aquinas, MacIntyre and Hauerwas, to Niebuhr and King, Dyson offers a thoughtful, multifaceted look at this "virtuous vice." He probes the philosophical and theological roots of pride in examining its transformation in Western culture. Dyson discusses how black pride keeps blacks from being degraded and excluded by white pride, which can be invisible, unspoken, but nonetheless very powerful. Dyson also offers a moving glimpse into the teachers and books that shaped his personal pride and vocation. Dyson also looks at less savory aspects of national pride. Since 9/11, he notes, we have had to close ranks. But the collective embrace of all things American, to the exclusion of anything else, has taken the place of a much richer, much more enduring, much more profound version of love of country. This unchecked pride asserts the supremacy of America above all others—elevating our national beliefs above any moral court in the world—and attacking critics of American foreign policy as unpatriotic and even traitorous. Hubris, temerity, arrogance—the unquestioned presumption that one’s way of life defines how everyone else should live—pride has many destructive manifestations. In this engaging and energetic volume, Michael Eric Dyson, one of the nation’s foremost public intellectuals, illuminates this many-sided human emotion, one that can be an indispensable virtue or a deadly sin.


Click for more detail about Righteous Riches: The Word of Faith Movement in Contemporary African American Religion by Milmon F. Harrison Righteous Riches: The Word of Faith Movement in Contemporary African American Religion

by Milmon F. Harrison
Oxford University Press (Mar 03, 2005)
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Does God want us to be wealthy? Many people believe that God offers not only eternal joy in the hereafter but also material blessings in the here and now. Other Christians see this "prosperity theology," as nothing more than vulgar materialism, incompatible with orthodox Christianity. In Righteous Riches, Milmon F. Harrison examines the Word of Faith movement, an independent, non-denominational Christian movement that preaches the so-called "health and wealth gospel."
The Word of Faith movement is an international network loosely bound by a basic doctrine called the "Faith Message," which teaches that it is God’s will for Christians to be prosperous, successful, and healthy in the present life. Drawing on his personal experiences as a former insider and in-depth interviews with members, Harrison takes us inside the movement, revealing what it is like to belong, and how people accept, reject, and reshape Word of Faith doctrines to fit their own lives. Although the movement is not exclusively African American, many of its most prominent and recognized leaders are African American ministers with large congregations and national television audiences. Analyzing the movement’s appeal to African Americans, Harrison argues that, because of their history of oppression and discrimination, African American religious institutions have always had to address the material—as well as spiritual—concerns of their members. The Word of Faith Movement, he says, is one of several prosperity movements that resonate strongly with African Americans. Situating the movement in the contexts of both contemporary American religion and the history of the Black Church, Righteous Riches offers a fascinating look at a quintessentially American phenomenon.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation by John Hope Franklin Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation

by John Hope Franklin
Oxford University Press (Apr 29, 1999)
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From John Hope Franklin, America’s foremost African American historian, comes this groundbreaking analysis of slave resistance and escape. A sweeping panorama of plantation life before the Civil War, this book reveals that slaves frequently rebelled against their masters and ran away from their plantations whenever they could.
For generations, important aspects about slave life on the plantations of the American South have remained shrouded. Historians thought, for instance, that slaves were generally pliant and resigned to their roles as human chattel, and that racial violence on the plantation was an aberration. In this precedent setting book, John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger demonstrate that, contrary to popular belief, significant numbers of slaves did in fact frequently rebel against their masters and struggled to attain their freedom. By surveying a wealth of documents, such as planters’ records, petitions to county courts and state legislatures, and local newspapers, this book shows how slaves resisted, when, where, and how they escaped, where they fled to, how long they remained in hiding, and how they survived away from the plantation. Of equal importance, it examines the reactions of the white slaveholding class, revealing how they marshaled considerable effort to prevent runaways, meted out severe punishments, and established patrols to hunt down escaped slaves.
Reflecting a lifetime of thought by our leading authority in African American history, this book provides the key to truly understanding the relationship between slaveholders and the runaways who challenged the system—illuminating as never before the true nature of the South’s "most peculiar institution."


Click for more detail about Shades Of Freedom: Racial Politics And Presumptions Of The American Legal Process by A. Leon Higginbotham Shades Of Freedom: Racial Politics And Presumptions Of The American Legal Process

by A. Leon Higginbotham
Oxford University Press (Oct 24, 1996)
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Few individuals have had as great an impact on the law—both its practice and its history—as A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. A winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, he has distinguished himself over the decades both as a professor at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard, and as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals. But Judge Higginbotham is perhaps best known as an authority on racism in America: not the least important achievement of his long career has been In the Matter of Color, the first volume in a monumental history of race and the American legal process. Published in 1978, this brilliant book has been hailed as the definitive account of racism, slavery, and the law in colonial America.
Now, after twenty years, comes the long-awaited sequel. In Shades of Freedom, Higginbotham provides a magisterial account of the interaction between the law and racial oppression in America from colonial times to the present, demonstrating how the one agent that should have guaranteed equal treatment before the law—the judicial system—instead played a dominant role in enforcing the inferior position of blacks. The issue of racial inferiority is central to this volume, as Higginbotham documents how early white perceptions of black inferiority slowly became codified into law. Perhaps the most powerful and insightful writing centers on a pair of famous Supreme Court cases, which Higginbotham uses to portray race relations at two vital moments in our history. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 declared that a slave who had escaped to free territory must be returned to his slave owner. Chief Justice Roger Taney, in his notorious opinion for the majority, stated that blacks were "so inferior that they had no right which the white man was bound to respect." For Higginbotham, Taney’s decision reflects the extreme state that race relations had reached just before the Civil War. And after the War and Reconstruction, Higginbotham reveals, the Courts showed a pervasive reluctance (if not hostility) toward the goal of full and equal justice for African Americans, and this was particularly true of the Supreme Court. And in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which Higginbotham terms "one of the most catastrophic racial decisions ever rendered," the Court held that full equality—in schooling or housing, for instance—was unnecessary as long as there were "separate but equal" facilities. Higginbotham also documents the eloquent voices that opposed the openly racist workings of the judicial system, from Reconstruction Congressman John R. Lynch to Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan to W. E. B. Du Bois, and he shows that, ironically, it was the conservative Supreme Court of the 1930s that began the attack on school segregation, and overturned the convictions of African Americans in the famous Scottsboro case. But today racial bias still dominates the nation, Higginbotham concludes, as he shows how in six recent court cases the public perception of black inferiority continues to persist.
In Shades of Freedom, a noted scholar and celebrated jurist offers a work of magnificent scope, insight, and passion. Ranging from the earliest colonial times to the present, it is a superb work of history—and a mirror to the American soul.


Click for more detail about Silent Covenants: Brown v. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform by Derrick Bell Silent Covenants: Brown v. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform

by Derrick Bell
Oxford University Press (Aug 18, 2005)
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When the landmark Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education was handed down in 1954, many civil rights advocates believed that the decision, which declared public school segregation unconstitutional, would become the Holy Grail of racial justice. Fifty years later, despite its legal irrelevance and the racially separate and educationally ineffective state of public schooling for most black children, Brown is still viewed by many as the perfect precedent.

Here, Derrick Bell shatters the shining image of this celebrated ruling. He notes that, despite the onerous burdens of segregation, many black schools functioned well and racial bigotry had not rendered blacks a damaged race. He maintains that, given what we now know about the pervasive nature of racism, the Court should have determined instead to rigorously enforce the "equal" component of the "separate but equal" standard. Racial policy, Bell maintains, is made through silent covenants—unspoken convergences of interest and involuntary sacrifices of rights—that ensure that policies conform to priorities set by policy-makers. Blacks and whites are the fortuitous winners or losers in these unspoken agreements. The experience with Brown, Bell urges, should teach us that meaningful progress in the quest for racial justice requires more than the assertion of harms. Strategies must recognize and utilize the interest-convergence factors that strongly influence racial policy decisions.

In Silent Covenants, Bell condenses more than four decades of thought and action into a powerful and eye-opening book.


Click for more detail about Slavery and the Making of America by James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton Slavery and the Making of America

by James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton
Oxford University Press (Nov 01, 2004)
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The history of slavery is central to understanding the history of the United States. Slavery and the Making of America offers a richly illustrated, vividly written history that illuminates the human side of this inhumane institution, presenting it largely through stories of the slaves themselves.

Readers will discover a wide ranging and sharply nuanced look at American slavery, from the first Africans brought to British colonies in the early seventeenth century to the end of Reconstruction. The authors document the horrors of slavery, particularly in the deep South, and describe the slaves’ valiant struggles to free themselves from bondage. There are dramatic tales of escape by slaves such as William and Ellen Craft and Dred Scott’s doomed attempt to win his freedom through the Supreme Court. We see how slavery engendered violence in our nation, from bloody confrontations that broke out in American cities over fugitive slaves, to the cataclysm of the Civil War. The book is also filled with stories of remarkable African Americans like Sergeant William H. Carney, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at the crucial assault on Fort Wagner during the Civil War, and Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, a former slave who led freed African Americans to a new life on the American frontier. Filled with absorbing and inspirational accounts highlighted by more than one hundred pictures and illustrations, Slavery and the Making of America is a gripping account of the struggles of African Americans against the iniquity of slavery.


Click for more detail about The Burden Of Memory, The Muse Of Forgiveness (The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Series) by Wole Soyinka The Burden Of Memory, The Muse Of Forgiveness (The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Series)

by Wole Soyinka
Oxford University Press (Feb 17, 2000)
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Nobel Laureate in Literature Wole Soyinka considers all of Africa—indeed, all the world—as he poses this question: once repression stops, is reconciliation between oppressor and victim possible? In the face of centuries-long devastation wrought on the African continent and her Diaspora by slavery, colonialism, Apartheid, and the manifold faces of racism, what form of recompense could possibly suffice? In a voice as eloquent and humane as it is forceful, Soyinka boldly challenges in these pages the notions of simple forgiveness, confession, and absolution as strategies for social healing. Ultimately, he turns to art—poetry, music, painting, etc.—as the one source that can nourish the seed of reconciliation: art is the generous vessel that can hold together the burden of memory and the hope of forgiveness.

Based on Soyinka’s Stewart-McMillan lectures delivered at the DuBois Institute at Harvard, The Burden of Memory speaks not only to those concerned specifically with African politics, but also to anyone seeking the path to social justice through some of history’s most inhospitable terrain.


Click for more detail about The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley (The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers) by Phillis Wheatley The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley (The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers)

by Phillis Wheatley
Oxford University Press (Dec 14, 1989)
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The past two decades have seen a dramatic resurgence of interest in black women writers, as authors such as Alice Walker and Toni Morrison have come to dominate the larger Afro-American literary landscape. Yet the works of the writers who founded and nurtured the black women’s literary tradition—nineteenth-century Afro-American women—have remained buried in research libraries or in expensive hard-to-find reprints, often inaccessible to twentieth-century readers.
Oxford University Press, in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, rescued the voice of an entire segment of the black tradition by offering thirty volumes of these compelling and rare works of fiction, poetry, autobiography, biography, essays, and journalism. Responding to the wide recognition this series has received, Oxford now presents four of these volumes in paperback. Each book contains an introduction written by an expert in the field, as well as an overview by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the General Editor.
Individually, each of these four works now in paperback—including The Journals of Charlotte Forten Grimk, Elizabeth Keckley’s Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House, Six Women’s Slave Narratives, and The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley—stands as a unique literary contribution in its own right. Collectively providing a rich sampling of the range of works written by black women over the course of more than a century, they pay tribute (now long overdue) to an extraordinary and influential group of Afro-American women. These new editions will enable teachers, students, and general readers of American literature, history, Afro-American culture, and women’s studies to hear at last, and learn from, the lost voice of the nineteenth-century black woman writer.


Click for more detail about The Contours of Masculine Desire: Romanticism and the Rise of Women’s Poetry by Marlon B. Ross The Contours of Masculine Desire: Romanticism and the Rise of Women’s Poetry

by Marlon B. Ross
Oxford University Press (Jan 11, 1990)
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This is the first extended study of the role gender plays in the writing, reading, publishing, and reviewing of poetry in late 18th-century and early 19th-century Britain. Ross examines the ways in which Romanticism has been constructed, from the Romantic period to the present, as a masculine enterprise. He then traces the growth of a "feminine" poetic tradition from 1730 to 1830, showing the importance of this previously neglected tradition in the understanding of 19th-century British culture, and the development of current literary history, theory, and taste.


Click for more detail about The Erotics Of Talk: Women’s Writing And Feminist Paradigms by Carla Kaplan The Erotics Of Talk: Women’s Writing And Feminist Paradigms

by Carla Kaplan
Oxford University Press (Dec 12, 1996)
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Is feminism in "crisis?" With many feminists now questioning identification and focusing on differences between women, what is the fate of feminist criticism’s traditional imperative to rescue women’s stories and make their voices heard?

In this provocative rereading of the classic texts of the feminist literary canon, Carla Kaplan takes a hard look at the legacy of feminist criticism and argues that important features of feminism’s own canon have been overlooked in the rush to rescue and identify texts. African-American women’s texts, she demonstrates, often dramatize their distrust of their readers, their lack of faith in "the cultural conversation," through strategies of self-silencing and "self-talk." At the same time, she argues, the homoerotics of women’s writing has too often gone unremarked. Not only does longing for an ideal listener draw women’s texts into a romance with the reader, but there is an erotic excess which is part of feminist critical recuperation itself.

Drawing on a wide range of resources, from sociolinguistics and anthropology to literary theory, Kaplan’s highly readable study proposes a new model for understanding and representing "talk." She supplies fresh readings of such feminist classics as Jane Eyre, "The Yellow Wallpaper," Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The Color Purple, revealing how their "erotics of talk" works as a rich political allegory and form of social critique.


Click for more detail about The Japanese American Family Album (American Family Albums) by Dorothy Hoobler and Thomas Hoobler The Japanese American Family Album (American Family Albums)

by Dorothy Hoobler and Thomas Hoobler
Oxford University Press (Feb 29, 1996)
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Drawing on the experiences of generations of Japanese immigrants—revealed in diaries, letters, interviews, newspaper and magazine articles, and personal reflections—a book filled with photographs tells what it was like to leave a beloved homeland for a new life. UP.


Click for more detail about The Language Hoax by John McWhorter The Language Hoax

by John McWhorter
Oxford University Press (Jun 01, 2016)
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Japanese has a term that covers both green and blue. Russian has separate terms for dark and light blue. Does this mean that Russians perceive these colors differently from Japanese people? Does language control and limit the way we think?

This short, opinionated book addresses the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which argues that the language we speak shapes the way we perceive the world. Linguist John McWhorter argues that while this idea is mesmerizing, it is plainly wrong. It is language that reflects culture and worldview, not the other way around. The fact that a language has only one word for eat, drink, and smoke doesn’t mean its speakers don’t process the difference between food and beverage, and those who use the same word for blue and green perceive those two colors just as vividly as others do.

McWhorter shows not only how the idea of language as a lens fails but also why we want so badly to believe it: we’re eager to celebrate diversity by acknowledging the intelligence of peoples who may not think like we do. Though well-intentioned, our belief in this idea poses an obstacle to a better understanding of human nature and even trivializes the people we seek to celebrate. The reality — that all humans think alike — provides another, better way for us to acknowledge the intelligence of all peoples.


Click for more detail about The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume I: 1902-1941, I, Too, Sing America (Life of Langston Hughes, 1902-1941) by Arnold Rampersad The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume I: 1902-1941, I, Too, Sing America (Life of Langston Hughes, 1902-1941)

by Arnold Rampersad
Oxford University Press (Jan 10, 2002)
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February 1, 2002 marks the 100th birthday of Langston Hughes. To commemorate the centennial of his birth, Arnold Rampersad has contributed new Afterwords to both volumes of his highly-praised biography of this most extraordinary and prolific American writer.
In young adulthood Hughes possessed a nomadic but dedicated spirit that led him from Mexico to Africa and the Soviet Union to Japan, and countless other stops around the globe. Associating with political activists, patrons, and fellow artists, and drawing inspiration from both Walt Whitman and the vibrant Afro-American culture, Hughes soon became the most original and revered of black poets. In the first volume’s Afterword, Rampersad looks back at the significant early works Hughes produced, the genres he explored, and offers a new perspective on Hughes’s lasting literary influence.
Exhaustively researched in archival collections throughout the country, especially in the Langston Hughes papers at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, and featuring fifty illustrations per volume, this anniversary edition will offer a new generation of readers entrance to the life and mind of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists.


Click for more detail about The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume I: 1902-1941: I, Too, Sing America by Arnold Rampersad The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume I: 1902-1941: I, Too, Sing America

by Arnold Rampersad
Oxford University Press (Feb 25, 1988)
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Poet, playwright, novelist, and a grand figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Langston Hughes stands as one of the most extraordinary and prolific American writers of this century. As the first installment of a two-volume biography, this portrait of Langston Hughes depicts his life from his birth in Missouri in 1902 to the winter of 1941.
Rampersad recounts Hughes’ early days in Kansas as a child of a family steeped in radical Abolitionism, with an ancestor who fought and died at Harper’s Ferry in John Brown’s band. Taught by his aged grandmother to revere freedom and justice, he nevertheless led a lonely life as a child. His mother left him in his grandmother’s care while trying unsuccessfully to launch a career in the theater, and his father—a black man who seemed to hate blacks—abandoned him to find a business career in Mexico. Hughes grew into a highly disciplined and yet restless adult who found personal salvation in poetry.
Inspired by both the democratic chants of Walt Whitman and the vibrant forms of Afro-American culture, Hughes became the most original and revered of black poets. Rampersad’s study traces the nomadic, yet dedicated spirit that led him—as a young man—to Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Africa, Europe, the Soviet Union, China, and Japan, as well as all over the United States. During his travels, Hughes cultivated associations with a dazzling range of political activists, patrons, and fellow artists, including Paul Robeson, Zora Neale Hurston, Carl Van Vechten, Lincoln Steffens, Nancy Cunard, Ernest Hemingway, and Claude McKay.
Based on exhaustive research in archival collections throughout the country, especially in the Langston Hughes papers at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, Rampersad’s masterful work presents a vivid portrait of one of our greatest writers and a sweeping panorama of culture and history in the early twentieth century.


Click for more detail about The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume II: 1914-1967, I Dream a World by Arnold Rampersad The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume II: 1914-1967, I Dream a World

by Arnold Rampersad
Oxford University Press (Jan 10, 2002)
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February 1, 2002 marks the 100th birthday of Langston Hughes. To commemorate the centennial of his birth, Arnold Rampersad has contributed new Afterwords to both volumes of his highly-praised biography of this most extraordinary and prolific American writer.
The second volume in this masterful biography finds Hughes rooting himself in Harlem, receiving stimulation from his rich cultural surroundings. Here he rethought his view of art and radicalism, and cultivated relationships with younger, more militant writers such as Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Amiri Bakara. Rampersad’s Afterword to volume two looks further into his influence and how it expanded beyond the literary as a result of his love of jazz and blues, his opera and musical theater collaborations, and his participation in radio and television. In addition, Rempersad explores the controversial matter of Hughes’s sexuality and the possibility that, despite a lack of clear evidence, Hughes was homosexual.
Exhaustively researched in archival collections throughout the country, especially in the Langston Hughes papers at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, and featuring fifty illustrations per volume, this anniversary edition will offer a new generation of readers entrance to the life and mind of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists.


Click for more detail about The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume II: 1941-1967, I Dream a World (Life of Langston Hughes, 1941-1967) by Arnold Rampersad The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume II: 1941-1967, I Dream a World (Life of Langston Hughes, 1941-1967)

by Arnold Rampersad
Oxford University Press (Jan 10, 2002)
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February 1, 2002 marks the 100th birthday of Langston Hughes. To commemorate the centennial of his birth, Arnold Rampersad has contributed new Afterwords to both volumes of his highly-praised biography of this most extraordinary and prolific American writer.
The second volume in this masterful biography finds Hughes rooting himself in Harlem, receiving stimulation from his rich cultural surroundings. Here he rethought his view of art and radicalism, and cultivated relationships with younger, more militant writers such as Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Amiri Bakara. Rampersad’s Afterword to volume two looks further into his influence and how it expanded beyond the literary as a result of his love of jazz and blues, his opera and musical theater collaborations, and his participation in radio and television. In addition, Rempersad explores the controversial matter of Hughes’s sexuality and the possibility that, despite a lack of clear evidence, Hughes was homosexual.
Exhaustively researched in archival collections throughout the country, especially in the Langston Hughes papers at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, and featuring fifty illustrations per volume, this anniversary edition will offer a new generation of readers entrance to the life and mind of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists.


Click for more detail about The Lion And The Jewel (Three Crowns Books) by Wole Soyinka The Lion And The Jewel (Three Crowns Books)

by Wole Soyinka
Oxford University Press (Jan 01, 1962)
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This is one of the best-known plays by Africa’s major dramatist, Wole Soyinka. It is set in the Yoruba village of Ilunjinle. The main characters are Sidi (the Jewel), ’a true village belle’ and Baroka (the Lion), the crafty and powerful Bale of the village, Lakunle, the young teacher, influenced by western ways, and Sadiku, the eldest of Baroka’s wives. How the Lion hunts the Jewel is the theme of this ribald comedy.


Click for more detail about The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry by Arnold Rampersad and Hilary Herbold The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry

by Arnold Rampersad and Hilary Herbold
Oxford University Press (Oct 01, 2005)
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For over two centuries, black poets have created verse that captures the sorrows, joys, and triumphs of the African-American experience. Reflecting their variety of visions and styles, The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry aims to offer nothing less than a definitive literary portrait of a people.
Here are poems by writers as different as Paul Laurence Dunbar and W.E.B. Du Bois; Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes; Gwendolyn Brooks and Amiri Baraka; Rita Dove and Harryette Mullen; Yusef Komunyakaa and Nathaniel Mackey. Acclaimed as a biographer and editor, Arnold Rampersad groups these poems as meditations on key issues in black culture, including the idea of Africa; the South; slavery; protest and resistance; the black man, woman, and child; sexuality and love; music and religion; spirituality; death and transcendence.
With their often starkly contrasting visions and styles, these poets illuminate some of the more controversial and intimate aspects of the black American experience. Poetry here is not only or mainly a vehicle of protest but also an exploration of the complex and tender subtleties of black culture. One section offers tributes to celebrated leaders such as Sojourner Truth and Malcolm X, but many more reflect the heroism compelled by everyday black life. The variety of poetic forms and language captures the brilliant essence of English as mastered by black Americans dedicated to the art of poetry.
Loving and yet also honest and unsparing, The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry is for readers who treasure both poetry and the genius of black America.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Oxford Companion to African American Literature by William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster and 
Trudier Harris The Oxford Companion to African American Literature

by William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster and Trudier Harris
Oxford University Press (Mar 27, 1997)
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Here indeed is the pantheon of African American writers—Phillis Wheatley and Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois, Gwendolyn Brooks and Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, John Edgar Wideman and August Wilson, Jamaica Kincaid and Gloria Naylor, Stanley Crouch and Cornel West, and hundreds more.

Moreover, the Companion includes entries on 150 major works of African American literature (including synopses of novels), from Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Richard Wright's Native Son, to Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun; on literary characters, ranging from Bigger Thomas, to Coffin Ed Johnson, Kunta Kinte, Sula Peace; on character types, such as Aunt Jemima, Brer Rabbit, John Henry, Stackolee, and the trickster; and on such icons of black culture as Muhammad Ali, John Coltrane, Marcus Garvey, Jackie Robinson, John Brown, and Harriet Tubman.

Here, too, are general articles on the traditional literary genres, such as poetry, fiction, and drama; on genres of special import in African American letters, such as autobiography, slave narratives, Sunday School literature, and oratory; and on a wide spectrum of related topics, including The Black Arts Movement, journalism, the black periodical press, major libraries and research centers, religion, literary societies, women's clubs, and various publishing enterprises.


Click for more detail about The Oxford Handbook Of African American Theology by Katie G. Cannon and Anthony B. Pinn The Oxford Handbook Of African American Theology

by Katie G. Cannon and Anthony B. Pinn
Oxford University Press (Aug 01, 2014)
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Named an Honor Book for Nonfiction by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association

African American theology has a long and important history. With modern roots in the civil rights movements of the 1960s, African American theology has gone beyond issues of justice and social transformation to participate in broader dialogues of theological inquiry. The Oxford Handbook of African American Theology brings together leading scholars in the field to offer a critical and comprehensive analysis of this theological tradition in its many forms and contexts. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this Oxford Handbook examines the nature, structures, and functions of African American Theology. The volume surveys the field by highlighting its sources, doctrines, internal debates, current challenges, and future prospects in order to present key topics related to the wider palette of Black Religion in a sustained scholarly format. This formative collection presents current scholarship on African American Theology and scripture, eschatology, Christology, womanist theology, sexuality, ontology, the global economy, and much more. The contributors represent a diverse set of faith perspectives, adding to the layered discourses within the volume. These essays further important discussions on the pressing debates and challenges that shape black and womanist theologies.


Click for more detail about The Pasteboard Bandit (The Iona and Peter Opie Library of Children’s Literature) by Langston Hughes The Pasteboard Bandit (The Iona and Peter Opie Library of Children’s Literature)

by Langston Hughes
Oxford University Press (Nov 20, 1997)
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In this delightful children’s tale, an American boy, Kenny Strange, moves to the quiet Mexican town of Taxco with his parents and strikes up a friendship with young Juanito Prez, a Taxco native. The two boys are brought together by an enchanting toy, the pasteboard bandit Tito. Chosen by Juanito at a town fair from among the other pasteboard toys, Tito, with his colorful clothes and bright eyes, becomes Juanito’s and Kenny’s constant companion, and the threesome share many adventures in and around the town’s rolling green hills. The boys’ growing friendship, Kenny’s introduction to a culture unlike his own, and Tito’s witty reflections on being a toy will be recognized instantly by anyone young or old who has ever made a friend or imagined that a toy might be real.
Originally written in 1935, but never before published, The Pasteboard Bandit grew out of several trips Langston Hughes made to Mexico during his lifetime. Hughes first went to the town of Toluca at age 5 to visit his father, and again when he was older. During these visits, Hughes met many writers and artists, and it is their influence that informs the story of The Pasteboard Bandit—a story of two cultures meeting. When Hughes left Mexico for the last time, at age 32, he was carrying the first draft for The Pasteboard Bandit.


Click for more detail about The Price Of The Ticket: Barack Obama And The Rise And Decline Of Black Politics (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies In Black Politics And Black Communities) by Fredrick Harris The Price Of The Ticket: Barack Obama And The Rise And Decline Of Black Politics (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies In Black Politics And Black Communities)

by Fredrick Harris
Oxford University Press (Jun 15, 2012)
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The historical significance of Barack Obama’s triumph in the presidential election of 2008 scarcely requires comment. Yet it contains an irony: he won a victory as an African American only by denying that he should discuss issues that target the concerns of African Americans. Obama’s very success, writes Fredrick Harris, exacted a heavy cost on black politics.

In The Price of the Ticket, Harris puts Obama’s career in the context of decades of black activism, showing how his election undermined the very movement that made it possible. The path to his presidency began just before passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, when black leaders began to discuss strategies to make the most of their new access to the ballot. Some argued that black voters should organize into a cohesive, independent bloc to promote both targeted and universal polices; others urged a more race-neutral approach, working together with other racial minorities as well as like-minded whites. This has been the fundamental divide within black politics ever since. At first, the gap did not seem serious. But the post-civil-rights era has accelerated a shift towards race-neutral politics. Obama made a point of distancing himself from older race-conscious black leaders, such as Jesse Jackson- and leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus-even though, as Harris shows, he owes much to Jackson’s earlier campaigns for the White House. Unquestionably Obama’s approach won support among whites, but Harris finds the results troublesome. The social problems targeted by an earlier generation of black politicians—racial disparities in income and education, stratospheric incarceration and unemployment rates—all persist, yet Obama’s election, ironically, marginalized those issues, keeping them off the political agenda. Meanwhile, the civil-rights movement’s militancy to attack the vestiges of racial inequality is fading.

Written by one of America’s leading scholars of race and politics, The Price of the Ticket will reshape our understanding of the rise of Barack Obama and the decline of a politics dedicated to challenging racial inequality head on.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Selected Writings of James Weldon Johnson: Volume I: New York Age Editorials (1914-1923) by Sondra Kathryn Wilson The Selected Writings of James Weldon Johnson: Volume I: New York Age Editorials (1914-1923)

by Sondra Kathryn Wilson
Oxford University Press (May 18, 1995)
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James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) would have been judged a successful man had he merely remained the principal of Stanton School in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL. Destiny led him, however, to become the first African-American to pass the Florida Bar exam, to win international acclaim as a songwriter, poet, novelist, diplomat, playwright, journalist, and champion of human rights. Since that time, though, his life and contributions have gone virtually unnoticed, except for his well-known song, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Johnson’s dual role as civil rights leader and literary artist was unprecedented and has not been replicated since. He used this duality in attempt to exonerate black Americans from the psychological and physical persecutions of "Jim Crow." These two volumes comprise of Johnson’s literary work, song lyrics, and both his literary and political essays. A critical introduction places Johnson in relation to other black artists, the development of African-American literature, and early integrationist movements.

By painting a vivid picture of the race problem in this nation, and by his portrayal of the successes and possibilities of his race, he pricked white America’s conscience. This collection serves as witness to Johnson’s pioneering a momentous standard for African-American literature while he laid the groundwork for the early civil rights movement in America.


Click for more detail about The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism

by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Oxford University Press (Dec 14, 1989)
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Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s original, groundbreaking study explores the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature, elaborating a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself. Examining the ancient poetry and myths found in African, Latin American, and Caribbean culture, and particularly the Yoruba trickster figure of Esu-Elegbara and the Signifying Monkey whose myths help articulate the black tradition’s theory of its literature, Gates uncovers a unique system for interpretation and a powerful vernacular tradition that black slaves brought with them to the New World. His critical approach relies heavily on the Signifying Monkey--perhaps the most popular figure in African-American folklore--and signification and Signifyin(g). Exploring signification in black American life and literature by analyzing the transmission and revision of various signifying figures, Gates provides an extended analysis of what he calls the “Talking Book,” a central trope in early slave narratives that virtually defines the tradition of black American letters. Gates uses this critical framework to examine several major works of African-American literature--including Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, and Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo--revealing how these works signify on the black tradition and on each other. The second volume in an enterprising trilogy on African-American literature, The Signifying Monkey--which expands the arguments of Figures in Black--makes an important contribution to literary theory, African-American literature, folklore, and literary history.


Click for more detail about The Third World of Theory (Clarendon Lectures in English Literature) by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The Third World of Theory (Clarendon Lectures in English Literature)

by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Oxford University Press (Jan 01, 2004)
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The Third World of Theory, originally given as the Clarendon Lectures in English at Oxford University, is an important contribution to Cultural Studies from one of its leading critics. Beginning with Edmund Burke and eighteenth-century Rationalism, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discusses a wide range of key topics in contemporary Cultural and Afro-American Studies, from Raymond Williams and issues of identity, to Frantz Fanon’s importance as a global theorist, and Isaiah Berlin’s essay on pluralism.

Gates is a genial and energetic guide throughout, elegantly combining distinguished scholarship and involved discussion with his own personal experiences (we learn, for instance of Gates’ own encounter with James Baldwin and his journey across France with the famous actress-singer Josephine Baker). The culture wars have presented us with a surfeit of either-ors—tradition versus modernity; Eurocentrism versus Afrocentricism; communitarianism versus individualism. Gates’s powerful conclusion points us away from these banal dichotomies and appeals for a multiculturalism in which differences are accepted and celebrated. This volume is introduced by the preeminent cultural theorist Homi Bhabha.


Click for more detail about The Works Of Alain Locke by Charles Molesworth The Works Of Alain Locke

by Charles Molesworth
Oxford University Press (Jul 10, 2012)
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With the publication of The New Negro in 1925, Alain Locke introduced readers all over the U.S. to the vibrant world of African American thought. As an author, editor, and patron, Locke rightly earned the appellation "Godfather of the Harlem Renaissance." Yet, his intellectual contributions extend far beyond that single period of cultural history. Throughout his life he penned essays, on topics ranging from John Keats to Sigmund Freud, in addition to his trenchant social commentary on race and society.

The Works of Alain Locke provides the largest collection available of his brilliant essays, gathered from a career that spanned forty years. They cover an impressively broad field of subjects: philosophy, literature, the visual arts, music, the theory of value, race, politics, and multiculturalism. Alongside seminal works such as "The New Negro" the volume features essays like "The Ethics of Culture," "Apropos of Africa," and "Pluralism and Intellectual Democracy." Together, these writings demonstrate Locke’s standing as the leading African American thinker between W. E. B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The foreword by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.


Click for more detail about Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy by Kwame Anthony Appiah Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy

by Kwame Anthony Appiah
Oxford University Press (Mar 06, 2003)
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Here is a thorough, vividly written introduction to contemporary philosophy and some of the most crucial questions of human existence: the nature of mind and knowledge, the status of moral claims, the existence of God, the role of science, and the mysteries of language, among them.
In Thinking It Through, esteemed philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah shows us what it means to "do" philosophy in our time and why it should matter to anyone who wishes to live a more thoughtful life. Opposing the common misconceptions that being a philosopher means espousing a set of philosophical beliefs, or being a follower of a particular thinker, Appiah argues that "the result of philosophical exploration is not the end of inquiry in a settled opinion, but a mind resting more comfortably among many possibilities, or else the reframing of the question, and a new inquiry." Thinking It Through is organized around eight central topics—mind, knowledge, language, science, morality, politics, law, and metaphysics. It traces how philosophers in the past have considered each subject (how Hobbes, Wittgenstein, and Frege, for example, approached the problem of language) and then explores some of the major questions that still engage philosophers today. More important, Appiah shows us not only what philosophers have thought but how they think, giving us examples we might use in our own attempts to navigate the complex issues that confront any reflective person in the 21st century.
Filled with concrete examples of how philosophers work and written in the liveliest prose, Thinking It Through guides readers through the process of philosophical reflection and enlarges our understanding of the central questions of human life.


Click for more detail about Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington Up from Slavery

by Booker T. Washington
Oxford University Press (Mar 23, 2000)
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For the 50 years that followed its publication in 1901, Up from Slavery was the most widely known book written by an African American. The life of Booker T. Washington embodied the legendary rise of an American self-made man, and his autobiography gave voice for the first time to a vast group that had to pull itself up from nothing. In the well-documented ordeals and observations of this humble and plainspoken schoolmaster we find traces of Washington’s other nature: the ambitious and tough-minded analyst. Here was a man who had to balance the demands of his fellow blacks with the constraints imposed on him by whites.


Click for more detail about Ways of Dying (Southern African Writing) by Zakes Mda Ways of Dying (Southern African Writing)

by Zakes Mda
Oxford University Press (Nov 16, 1995)
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Written in the style of "magic realism," this tragic-comic contemporary novel is set against the backdrops of shabby but vibrant city slums and a rural South African community. The story’s hero, Toloki, is an eccentric yet dignified professional mourner whose different worlds are reconciled, amid an atmosphere charged with bizarre realism, when he finds love and makes peace with his past.









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