12 Books Published by Univ Of Minnesota Press on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

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
University 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 Interspersed with musings and interviews are historical references, quotations, and personal anecdotes that make this account all the more intimate, heartbreaking, and relevant.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
University Of Minnesota Press (May 16, 2016)
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The year 2016 will mark the centennial of the birth of Albert Murray (19162013), 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
University 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 Into the Interior by Michelle Cliff Into the Interior

by Michelle Cliff
University Of Minnesota Press (May 17, 2010)
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In her previous novels, Michelle Cliff explored potent themes of colonialism, race, myth, and identity with rare intelligence, lyrical intensity, and a profound sense of both history and place. Now, with Into the Interior, she has written her most intimate, courageous work of fiction yet, a searing and ultimately moving reflection on the legacy of empire and the restless search for a feeling of belonging. “I grew up to be someone adept at leaving,” confesses Into the Interior’s unnamed narrator, a bisexual Caribbean woman of color, and Cliff traces her travels from Jamaica to New York to London.

Educated in admiration for Western culture—she goes to London to study art history—she penetrates further and further into its emotional shadow life in an attempt to overcome her own deep sense of displacement. Reversing the journey Joseph Conrad’s Marlow took from the imperial capital to a colonial outpost, she discovers a “heart of darkness” in the former capital of the British Empire.

Moving among its fragmented personalities and social life, she witnesses—and experiences—its propensity for racism and homophobia, misogyny and abusive patriarchy, hypocrisy and sadism. Deftly shifting between present and past, between a childhood in Jamaica—her memories, both disconcerting and humor-tinged, beautifully rendered by Cliff’s elliptical prose—and her purposeful wanderings as an adult that result in intellectual, sexual, and political awakenings, Into the Interior is both deeply personal and charged by a world-historical awareness of the persistent injustices that colonialism imposes on its former subjects.


Click for more detail about Everything Is Now: New and Collected Stories by Michelle Cliff Everything Is Now: New and Collected Stories

by Michelle Cliff
University Of Minnesota Press (May 01, 2009)
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Everything is Now brings together in one volume all of the short fiction of Jamaican born author Michelle Cliff. The stories examine the dualities of the modern world — black and white; America and the third world; past and present; femininity and masculinity and colonialism and revolution.


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
University 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.

Book Review

Click for more detail about If I Could Write This in Fire by Michelle Cliff If I Could Write This in Fire

by Michelle Cliff
University Of Minnesota Press (Aug 01, 2008)
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“Full of razors, blossoms, and clarity. The beauty and authority of Cliff’s writing is coupled with profound insight.” —Toni Morrison


Click for more detail about Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics by Cedric Johnson Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics

by Cedric Johnson
University Of Minnesota Press (Sep 17, 2007)
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The Black Power movement represented a key turning point in American politics. Disenchanted by the hollow progress of federal desegregation during the 1960s, many black citizens and leaders across the United States demanded meaningful self-determination. The popular movement they created was marked by a vigorous artistic renaissance, militant political action, and fierce ideological debate.

Exploring the major political and intellectual currents from the Black Power era to the present, Cedric Johnson reveals how black political life gradually conformed to liberal democratic capitalism and how the movement’s most radical aims—the rejection of white aesthetic standards, redefinition of black identity, solidarity with the Third World, and anticapitalist revolution—were gradually eclipsed by more moderate aspirations. Although Black Power activists transformed the face of American government, Johnson contends that the evolution of the movement as a form of ethnic politics restricted the struggle for social justice to the world of formal politics.

Johnson offers a compelling and theoretically sophisticated critique of the rhetoric and strategies that emerged in this period. Drawing on extensive archival research, he reinterprets the place of key intellectual figures, such as Harold Cruse and Amiri Baraka, and influential organizations, including the African Liberation Support Committee, the National Black Political Assembly, and the National Black Independent Political Party in postsegregation black politics, while at the same time identifying the contradictions of Black Power radicalism itself.

Documenting the historical retreat from radical, democratic struggle, Revolutionaries to Race Leaders ultimately calls for the renewal of popular struggle and class-conscious politics.


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
University 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
University 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
University 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.


Click for more detail about Fighting words: Black Women and the Search for Justice by Patricia Hill Collins Fighting words: Black Women and the Search for Justice

by Patricia Hill Collins
University Of Minnesota Press (Sep 01, 1998)
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A professor of sociology explores how black feminist thought confronts the injustices of poverty and white supremacy, and argues that those operating outside the mainstream emphasize sociological themes based on assumptions different than those commonly accepted. Original. UP.