7 Books Published by Univ Of Minnesota Press on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about Thursdays and Every Other Sunday Off: A Domestic Rap by Verta Mae by Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor Thursdays and Every Other Sunday Off: A Domestic Rap by Verta Mae

by Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor
Univ Of Minnesota Press (Oct 16, 2018)
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Observations from the lives of African American domestic workers—back in print

Thursdays and Every Other Sunday Off is an exploration of the lives of African American domestic workers in cities throughout the United States during the mid-twentieth century. With dry wit and honesty, Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor relates the testimonies of maids, cooks, child care workers, and others as they discuss their relationships with their employers and their experiences on the job. She connects this work with popular culture, presenting Aunt Jemima, Mammies, Uncle Ben, and other charged figures through the eyes of domestic workers as opposed to their employers, and remembers her own family history (her mother and grandmother were domestic workers after migrating to Philadelphia from South Carolina). Interspersed with musings and interviews are historical references, quotations, and personal anecdotes that make this account all the more intimate, heartbreaking, and relevant.


Click for more detail about Murray Talks Music: Albert Murray on Jazz and Blues by Albert Murray Murray Talks Music: Albert Murray on Jazz and Blues

by Albert Murray
Univ Of Minnesota Press (May 16, 2016)
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The year 2016 will mark the centennial of the birth of Albert Murray (1916–2013), who in thirteen books was by turns a lyrical novelist, a keen and iconoclastic social critic, and a formidable interpreter of jazz and blues. Not only did his prizewinning study Stomping the Blues (1976) influence musicians far and wide, it was also a foundational text for Jazz at Lincoln Center, which he cofounded with Wynton Marsalis and others in 1987. Murray Talks Music brings together, for the first time, many of Murray’s finest interviews and essays on music—most never before published—as well as rare liner notes and prefaces.For those new to Murray, this book will be a perfect introduction, and those familiar with his work—even scholars—will be surprised, dazzled, and delighted. Highlights include Dizzy Gillespie’s richly substantive 1985 conversation; an in-depth 1994 dialogue on jazz and culture between Murray and Wynton Marsalis; and a long 1989 discussion on Duke Ellington between Murray, Stanley Crouch, and Loren Schoenberg. Also interviewed by Murray are producer and impresario John Hammond and singer and bandleader Billy Eckstine. All of thse conversations were previously lost to history. A celebrated educator and raconteur, Murray engages with a variety of scholars and journalists while making insightful connections among music, literature, and other art forms—all with ample humor and from unforeseen angles.Leading Murray scholar Paul Devlin contextualizes the essays and interviews in an extensive introduction, which doubles as a major commentary on Murray’s life and work. The volume also presents sixteen never-before-seen photographs of jazz greats taken by Murray.No jazz collection will be complete without Murray Talks Music, which includes a foreword by Gary Giddins and an afterword by Greg Thomas.


Click for more detail about Our Gang: A Racial History of The Little Rascals by Julia Lee Our Gang: A Racial History of The Little Rascals

by Julia Lee
Univ Of Minnesota Press (Dec 29, 2015)
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It was the age of Jim Crow, riddled with racial violence and unrest. But in the world of Our Gang, black and white children happily played and made mischief together. They even had their own black and white version of the KKK, the Cluck Cluck Klams—and the public loved it.The story of race and Our Gang, or The Little Rascals, is rife with the contradictions and aspirations of the sharply conflicted, changing American society that was its theater. Exposing these connections for the first time, Julia Lee shows us how much this series, from the first silent shorts in 1922 to its television revival in the 1950s, reveals about black and white American culture—on either side of the silver screen. Behind the scenes, we find unconventional men like Hal Roach and his gag writers, whose Rascals tapped into powerful American myths about race and childhood. We meet the four black stars of the series—Ernie “Sunshine Sammy” Morrison, Allen “Farina” Hoskins, Matthew “Stymie” Beard, and Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas—the gang within the Gang, whose personal histories Lee pursues through the passing years and shifting political landscape.In their checkered lives, and in the tumultuous life of the series, we discover an unexplored story of America, the messy, multiracial nation that found in Our Gang a comic avatar, a slapstick version of democracy itself.


Click for more detail about Choreographing The Folk: The Dance Stagings Of Zora Neale Hurston (Indigenous Americas) by Anthea Kraut Choreographing The Folk: The Dance Stagings Of Zora Neale Hurston (Indigenous Americas)

by Anthea Kraut
Univ Of Minnesota Press (Oct 03, 2008)
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While Zora Neale Hurston and her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God have become widely celebrated, she was also a prolific stage director and choreographer. In the 1930s Hurston produced theatrical concerts that depicted a day in the life of a railroad work camp in Florida and featured a rousing Bahamian Fire Dance as the dramatic finale. In Choreographing the Folk, Anthea Kraut traces the significance and influence of Hurston’s little-known choreographic work.

Hurston’s concerts were concrete illustrations of the “real Negro art theatre” she was eager to establish, and they compellingly demonstrate how she used the arena of performance to advance a nuanced understanding of the black diaspora. Her version of the Fire Dance was staged in a variety of venues during the 1930s. In its multiple representations, Kraut asserts, the dance raised critical issues about ownership, artistry, and authenticity.

Choreographing the Folk argues for the significance of Hurston’s choreography, and with perceptiveness, sensitivity, and originality, Kraut illuminates the important and often-contested place of black folk dance in American culture.

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Click for more detail about Words to Our Now: Imagination and Dissent by Thomas Glave Words to Our Now: Imagination and Dissent

by Thomas Glave
Univ Of Minnesota Press (Nov 15, 2005)
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“As a black male who is also gay, I and my brothers and our black lesbian sisters are considered ‘disposables’ throughout the world, throughout time past and present, in our own black communities and in white ones. This is clearly the case in Jamaica and most other Caribbean nations, and it is certainly true in the supposedly more ‘progressive’ United States. What will the force of this virulent hatred mean for our futures, and who will decide once again which of us is disposable? And: will we stand together when the time comes for us to face that machine-gun fire? All of us? Beyond our prejudices?” 

In these lyrical and powerful essays, Thomas Glave draws on his experiences as a politically committed, gay Jamaican American to deliver a searing condemnation of the prejudices, hatreds, and inhumanities that persist in the United States and elsewhere as both official policy and social reality. Exposing the hypocrisies and contradictions of liberal multiculturalism, Glave offers instead a politics of heterogeneity in which difference informs the theory and practice of democracy. At the same time, he experiments with language and form, blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction, to provide a compelling model of creative writing as a tool for social change and humanity. 

From the death of black gay poet Essex Hemphill to the revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib, Glave puts forth a deeply moral and ethical understanding of human rights to make vital connections across nations, races, genders, and sexualities. 

Thomas Glave is assistant professor of English at SUNY Binghamton. He is author of Whose Song? and Other Stories.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Motion Of Light In Water: Sex And Science Fiction Writing In The East Village by Samuel R. Delany The Motion Of Light In Water: Sex And Science Fiction Writing In The East Village

by Samuel R. Delany
Univ Of Minnesota Press (Apr 23, 2004)
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Samuel Delany is a science fiction writer, teacher and recipient of the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime’s contribution to lesbian and gay culture. His autobiography focuses on his life in New York’s lower east side in the 1960s and his development as a black gay writer in an open interracial marriage. The original edition, published


Click for more detail about In The Break: The Aesthetics Of The Black Radical Tradition by Fred Moten In The Break: The Aesthetics Of The Black Radical Tradition

by Fred Moten
Univ Of Minnesota Press (Apr 09, 2003)
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In his controversial essay on white jazz musician Burton Greene, Amiri Baraka asserted that jazz was exclusively an African American art form and explicitly fused the idea of a black aesthetic with radical political traditions of the African diaspora. In the Break is an extended riff on "The Burton Greene Affair," exploring the tangled relationship between black avant-garde in music and literature in the 1950s and 1960s, the emergence of a distinct form of black cultural nationalism, and the complex engagement with and disavowal of homoeroticism that bridges the two. Fred Moten focuses in particular on the brilliant improvisatory jazz of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, and others, arguing that all black performance-culture, politics, sexuality, identity, and blackness itself-is improvisation. For Moten, improvisation provides a unique epistemological standpoint from which to investigate the provocative connections between black aesthetics and Western philosophy. He engages in a strenuous critical analysis of Western philosophy (Heidegger, Kant, Husserl, Wittgenstein, and Derrida) through the prism of radical black thought and culture. As the critical, lyrical, and disruptive performance of the human, Moten’s concept of blackness also brings such figures as Frederick Douglass and Karl Marx, Cecil Taylor and Samuel R. Delany, Billie Holiday and William Shakespeare into conversation with each other. Stylistically brilliant and challenging, much like the music he writes about, Moten’s wide-ranging discussion embraces a variety of disciplines-semiotics, deconstruction, genre theory, social history, and psychoanalysis-to understand the politicized sexuality, particularly homoeroticism, underpinning black radicalism. In the Break is the inaugural volume in Moten’s ambitious intellectual project-to establish an aesthetic genealogy of the black radical tradition. Fred Moten is associate professor of African American studies and visual studies at the University of California, Irvine.