Articles of Interest
The Eighteen of 1918–1919: Black Nurses and the Great Flu Pandemic in the United States
This article examines the role of Black American nurses during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic and the aftermath of World War I. The pandemic caused at least 50 million deaths worldwide and 675 000 in the United States. It occurred during a period of pervasive segregation and racial violence, in which Black Americans were routinely denied access to health, educational, and political institutions. We discuss how an unsuccessful campaign by Black leaders for admission of Black nurses to the Red Cross, the Army Nurse Corps, and the Navy Nurse Corps during World War I eventually created opportunities for 18 Black nurses to serve in the army during the pandemic and the war's aftermath. Analyzing archival sources, news reports, and published materials, we examine these events in the context of nursing and early civil rights history. This analysis demonstrates that the pandemic incrementally advanced civil rights in the Army Nurse Corps and Red Cross, while providing ephemeral opportunities for Black nurses overall. This case study reframes the response to epidemics and other public health emergencies as potential opportunities to advance health equity.
The Archaeology of Black Americans in Recent Times
A review of work on African Americans through archaeology takes place under diasporic studies and relies on literature that defines the North American black experience. The focus is on the establishment of freedom by the founding of maroon communities and independent settlements of free people, as well as on the use and interpretation of African diasporic history and theory, particularly by archaeologists using knowledge of the diaspora to effect modern political change.
Soul Clap: Rhythm and Resilience in Afro-Carolina Landscapes
On an early winter Friday in Raleigh, North Carolina, a gathering was afoot. Stitched through the collected and collective souls was a shared, fierce, and tender passion for stewarding, writing about, archiving, talking about, crying about, dreaming about Black-ness.
North Carolina Black-ness--Afro-Carolina.
These teachers, filmmakers, curators, land conservationists, and poets were gathered to dream together, to call forth a new vision of how to best preserve the traditions of African Diaspora peoples, of and in this place.
One poet, visionary, and Afrofuturist among us, Darrell Stover, charged the air of the gathering with a selection from his self-published Somewhere Deep Down Within. The piece he chose was "Is the Beat for Max Roach."
Sacred Spaces: A Look Inside the Home of Harlem Renaissance Poet Anne Spencer
Anne Spencer, a poet, librarian, and activist, was the first African American woman to be featured in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. Much of her poetry focuses on her beloved home and garden. Tended for over fifty years and lovingly restored after her death, the garden is described in one poem as "half of my world" and is now maintained with support from the Garden Club of Virginia. In his biography of the poet, J. Lee Greene writes that when Spencer walked through her home, she would often "recall a person, an incident, a memory, an object that ... made the room and space seem sacred to her." These sacred spaces were a refuge from the Jim Crow South, where the Spencers celebrated beauty and hosted a remarkable collection of guests. She once noted, "We have a lovely home--one that money did not buy--it was born and evolved slowly out of our passionate, poverty-stricken agony to own our own home."
The Olympic “Revolt” of 1968 and its Lessons for Contemporary African American Athletic Activism
This overview of the 1968 African American Olympic protest movement provides historical context and a comparative touchstone for understanding the current wave of Black athletic activism in the United States. At a basic level, the exercise reminds us that sport-based activism is not unprecedented and, when it emerges, tends to be connected with the larger social movements of the day (the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and Black Lives Matter more recently). The comparison also shows contemporary activism to be the biggest and broadest mobilization of African American athletes and their supporters in American history, propelled especially by the participation of women and athletes across multiple sports and levels of participation. However, athletic activism remains as polarizing as ever and the most significant impacts of athletic activism still appear to be primarily symbolic or cultural. The final section of the paper highlights the cultural dimensions of sport—its “serious play” status, normative prohibitions against politics, and its individualistic, colorblind visions of race and social justice—that make athletically-based activism of all sorts challenging.
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society. Some Americans insist that we're living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America -- it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis. As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial inequities. In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.
Call Number: E 185.61 .K358 2016
Publication Date: 2016-04-12
Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights by Gretchen Sorin
The ultimate symbol of independence and possibility, the automobile has shaped this country from the moment the first Model T rolled off Henry Ford's assembly line. Yet cars have always held distinct importance for African Americans, allowing black families to evade the many dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy, in some measure, the freedom of the open road. Gretchen Sorin recovers a forgotten history of black motorists, and recounts their creation of a parallel, unseen world of travel guides, black only hotels, and informal communications networks that kept black drivers safe. At the heart of this story is Victor and Alma Green's famous Green Book, begun in 1936, which made possible that most basic American right, the family vacation, and encouraged a new method of resisting oppression. Enlivened by Sorin's personal history, Driving While Black opens an entirely new view onto the African American experience, and shows why travel was so central to the Civil Rights movement.
Call Number: E 185.61 .S667 2020
Publication Date: 2020-02-11
His Truth Is Marching On by Jon Meacham; John Lewis (Afterword by)
A timely and inspiring portrait of civil rights hero and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the quest for equal rights from the 1950s to the present--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Soul of America. #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER . An intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present-from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author ofThe Soul of America NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST ANDCOSMOPOLITAN John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and his teachers in nonviolence, Reverend James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr., to put his life on the line in the service of what Abraham Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature." From an early age, Lewis learned that nonviolence was not only a tactic but a philosophy, a biblical imperative, and a transforming reality. At the age of four, Lewis, ambitious to become a minister, practiced by preaching to his family's chickens. When his mother cooked one of the chickens, the boy refused to eat it-his first act, he wryly recalled, of nonviolent protest. Integral to Lewis's commitment to bettering the nation was his faith in humanity and in God-and an unshakable belief in the power of hope. Meacham calls Lewis "as important to the founding of a modern and multiethnic twentieth- and twenty-first-century America as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and Samuel Adams were to the initial creation of the Republic itself in the eighteenth century." A believer in the injunction that one should love one's neighbor as oneself, Lewis was arguably a saint in our time, risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful. In many ways he brought a still-evolving nation closer to realizing its ideals, and his story offers inspiration and illumination for Americans today who are working for social and political change.
Call Number: E 840.8 .L43 M43 2020
Publication Date: 2020-08-25
Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture by Emma Dabiri
A Kirkus Best Book of the Year Stamped from the Beginning meets You Can't Touch My Hair in this timely and resonant essay collection from Guardian contributor and prominent BBC race correspondent Emma Dabiri, exploring the ways in which black hair has been appropriated and stigmatized throughout history, with ruminations on body politics, race, pop culture, and Dabiri's own journey to loving her hair. Emma Dabiri can tell you the first time she chemically straightened her hair. She can describe the smell, the atmosphere of the salon, and her mix of emotions when she saw her normally kinky tresses fall down her shoulders. For as long as Emma can remember, her hair has been a source of insecurity, shame, and--from strangers and family alike--discrimination. And she is not alone. Despite increasingly liberal world views, black hair continues to be erased, appropriated, and stigmatized to the point of taboo. Through her personal and historical journey, Dabiri gleans insights into the way racism is coded in society's perception of black hair--and how it is often used as an avenue for discrimination. Dabiri takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, and into today's Natural Hair Movement, exploring everything from women's solidarity and friendship, to the criminalization of dreadlocks, to the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian's braids. Through the lens of hair texture, Dabiri leads us on a historical and cultural investigation of the global history of racism--and her own personal journey of self-love and finally, acceptance. Deeply researched and powerfully resonant, Twisted proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.
Call Number: GT 2290 .D33 2020
Publication Date: 2020-06-23
Angel of Greenwood by Randi Pink
A piercing, unforgettable love story set in Greenwood, Oklahoma, also known as the "Black Wall Street," and against the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Isaiah Wilson is, on the surface, a town troublemaker, but is hiding that he is an avid reader and secret poet, never leaving home without his journal. Angel Hill is a loner, mostly disregarded by her peers as a goody-goody. Her father is dying, and her family's financial situation is in turmoil. Though they've attended the same schools, Isaiah never noticed Angel as anything but a dorky, Bible toting church girl. Then their English teacher offers them a job on her mobile library, a three-wheel, two-seater bike. Angel can't turn down the money and Isaiah is soon eager to be in such close quarters with Angel every afternoon. But life changes on May 31, 1921 when a vicious white mob storms the Black community of Greenwood, leaving the town destroyed and thousands of residents displaced. Only then, Isaiah, Angel, and their peers realize who their real enemies are.
Call Number: PZ 7.1 .P565 An 2021
Publication Date: 2021-01-12
Black Lives Matter and Music by Fernando Orejuela (Editor, Contribution by); Stephanie Shonekan (Editor, Contribution by); Portia K. Maultsby (Foreword by); Langston Collin Wilkins (Contribution by); Alison Martin (Contribution by); Denise Dalphond (Contribution by)
Music has always been integral to the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, with songs such as Kendrick Lamar's "Alright," J. Cole's "Be Free," D'Angelo and the Vanguard's "The Charade," The Game's "Don't Shoot," Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout," Usher's "Chains," and many others serving as unofficial anthems and soundtracks for members and allies of the movement. In this collection of critical studies, contributors draw from ethnographic research and personal encounters to illustrate how scholarly research of, approaches to, and teaching about the role of music in the Black Lives Matter movement can contribute to public awareness of the social, economic, political, scientific, and other forms of injustices in our society. Each chapter in Black Lives Matter and Music focuses on a particular case study, with the goal to inspire and facilitate productive dialogues among scholars, students, and the communities we study. From nuanced snapshots of how African American musical genres have flourished in different cities and the role of these genres in local activism, to explorations of musical pedagogy on the American college campus, readers will be challenged to think of how activism and social justice work might appear in American higher education and in academic research. Black Lives Matter and Music provokes us to examine how we teach, how we conduct research, and ultimately, how we should think about the ways that black struggle, liberation, and identity have evolved in the United States and around the world.
Publication Date: 2018-08-10
Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King Jr. And the Black Social Gospel by Gary Dorrien
This magisterial follow-up to the Grawemeyer Award-winning The New Abolition explores the black social gospel's crucial second chapter "Magnificent . . . Breaking White Supremacy interweaves histories of families and institutions, of the black church and its storied presence, of African Americans in Africa and America, of ideas like nonviolence and socialism and uplift, and of the painfully varied ability of American Christianity to produce both a Howard University (or a Martin Luther King Jr.) and the need for them."--Jonathan Tran, Christian Century The civil rights movement was one of the most searing developments in modern American history. It abounded with noble visions, resounded with magnificent rhetoric, and ended in nightmarish despair. It won a few legislative victories and had a profound impact on U.S. society, but failed to break white supremacy. The symbol of the movement, Martin Luther King Jr., soared so high that he tends to overwhelm anything associated with him. Yet the tradition that best describes him and other leaders of the civil rights movement has been strangely overlooked. In his latest book, Gary Dorrien continues to unearth the heyday and legacy of the black social gospel, a tradition with a shimmering history, a martyred central figure, and enduring relevance today. This part of the story centers around King and the mid-twentieth-century black church leaders who embraced the progressive, justice-oriented, internationalist social gospel from the beginning of their careers and fulfilled it, inspiring and leading America's greatest liberation movement.
Publication Date: 2018-01-09
Junaluska: Oral Histories of a Black Appalachian Community by Susan E. Keefe (Editor)
Junaluska is one of the oldest African American communities in western North Carolina and one of the few surviving today. After Emancipation, many former slaves in Watauga County became sharecroppers, were allowed to clear land and to keep a portion, or bought property outright, all in the segregated neighborhood on the hill overlooking the town of Boone, North Carolina. Land and home ownership have been crucial to the survival of this community, whose residents are closely interconnected as extended families and neighbors. Missionized by white Krimmer Mennonites in the early twentieth century, their church is one of a handful of African American Mennonite Brethren churches in the United States, and it provides one of the few avenues for leadership in the local black community.
Remaking Black Power by Ashley D. Farmer
In this comprehensive history, Ashley D. Farmer examines black women's political, social, and cultural engagement with Black Power ideals and organizations. Complicating the assumption that sexism relegated black women to the margins of the movement, Farmer demonstrates how female activists fought for more inclusive understandings of Black Power and social justice by developing new ideas about black womanhood. This compelling book shows how the new tropes of womanhood that they created--the "Militant Black Domestic," the "Revolutionary Black Woman," and the "Third World Woman," for instance--spurred debate among activists over the importance of women and gender to Black Power organizing, causing many of the era's organizations and leaders to critique patriarchy and support gender equality. Making use of a vast and untapped array of black women's artwork, political cartoons, manifestos, and political essays that they produced as members of groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Congress of African People, Farmer reveals how black women activists reimagined black womanhood, challenged sexism, and redefined the meaning of race, gender, and identity in American life.
Publication Date: 2017-12-18
A Voice That Could Stir an Army by Maegan Parker Brooks
A sharecropper, a warrior, and a truth-telling prophet, Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) stands as a powerful symbol not only of the 1960s black freedom movement, but also of the enduring human struggle against oppression. A Voice That Could Stir an Army is a rhetorical biography that tells the story of Hamer's life by focusing on how she employed symbols-- images, words, and even material objects such as the ballot, food, and clothing--to construct persuasive public personae, to influence audiences, and to effect social change. Drawing upon dozens of newly recovered Hamer texts and recent interviews with Hamer's friends, family, and fellow activists, Maegan Parker Brooks moves chronologically through Hamer's life. Brooks recounts Hamer's early influences, her intersection with the black freedom movement, and her rise to prominence at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Brooks also considers Hamer's lesser-known contributions to the fight against poverty and to feminist politics before analyzing how Hamer is remembered posthumously. The book concludes by emphasizing what remains rhetorical about Hamer's biography, using the 2012 statue and museum dedication in Hamer's hometown of Ruleville, Mississippi, to examine the larger social, political, and historiographical implications of her legacy. The sustained consideration of Hamer's wide-ranging use of symbols and the reconstruction of her legacy provided within the pages of A Voice That Could Stir an Army enrich understanding of this key historical figure. This book also demonstrates how rhetorical analysis complements historical reconstruction to explain the dynamics of how social movements actually operate.
Publication Date: 2014-04-30