"Compton pushes us to look beneath the surface--past those comforting tales of nationhood and racial solidarity--to the more nebulous and ever-shifting truth. This is a brilliant and original work that should be mandatory reading for any student of race and history."--Danzy Senna, author of Caucasia
After Canaan, the first nonfiction book by acclaimed African Canadian poet Wayde Compton, repositions the North American discussion of race in the wake of the tumultuous twentieth century. Written from the perspective of someone who was born and lives outside of African American culture, it riffs on the concept of Canada as a promised land (or "Canaan") encoded in African American myth and song since the days of slavery. These varied essays, steeped in a kind of history rarely written about, explore the language of racial misrecognition (also known as "passing"), the failure of urban renewal, humor as a counterweight to "official" multiculturalism, the poetics of hip hop turntablism, and the impact of the Obama phenomenon on the way we speak about race itself. Compton marks the passing of old modes of antiracism and multiculturalism, and points toward what may or may not be a "post-racial" future, but will without doubt be a brave new world of cultural perception.
After Canaan is a brilliant and thoughtful consideration of African (North) American culture as it attempts to redefine itself in the Obama era.
Wayde Compton's previous books include the poetry collections 49th Parallel Psalm and Performance Bond. He teaches English in Vancouver, BC.
In the 1780s, around 40,000 slaves a year were taken from Africa in British ships, on the notorious "Middle Passage," to the Caribbean. In 1787, under an oak tree in Kent, the British Prime Minister, William Pitt, invited his friend William Wilberforce to introduce a parliamentary bill outlawing the slave trade. Neither of them imagined a twenty-year political campaign that would consume the rest of Wilberforce's life.
Born in Hull, England, to wealthy middle-class parents, Wilberforce entered Parliament and became a political celebrity in his day. After undergoing a profound Christian conversion, he set out on a path of service to humanity. Stephen Tomkins charts Wilberforce's tireless battle to end the slave trade, portraying a man of contradictions and extraordinary determination.
Written in a lively and engaging style, this biography of William Wilberforce transports the reader back to a dramatic age of conflict and upheaval. Published as part of the widespread commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Anti-Slave Trade Act -- also celebrated by the 2007 release of the widely acclaimed movie Amazing Grace -- this biography brings an extensive cast of colorful characters vividly to life.
Traces the history of eugenics ideology in the United States and its ongoing presence in contemporary life. The Nazis may have given eugenics its negative connotations, but the practice--and the "science" that supports it--is still disturbingly alive in America in anti-immigration initiatives, the quest for a "gay gene, " and theories of collective intelligence. Tracing the historical roots and persistence of eugenics in the United States, Nancy Ordover explores the political and cultural climate that has endowed these campaigns with mass appeal and scientific legitimacy. American Eugenics demonstrates how biological theories of race, gender, and sexuality are crucially linked through a concern with regulating the "unfit." These links emerge in Ordover's examination of three separate but ultimately related American eugenics campaigns: early twentieth-century anti-immigration crusades; medical models and interventions imposed on (and sometimes embraced by) lesbians, gays, transgendered people, and bisexuals; and the compulsory sterilization of poor women and women of color. Throughout, her work reveals how constructed notions of race, gender, sexuality, and nation are put to ideological uses and how "faith in science" can undermine progressive social movements, drawing liberals and conservatives alike into eugenics-based discourse and policies.
In St. Paul, where they were outnumbered by Germans immigrants, they nonetheless left a lasting legacy, so that today most Minnesotans think of St. Paul as an Irish town. As farmers and laborers, policemen and politicians, maids and seamstresses, their hard work helped to build the state. Wherever they settled, the Irish founded churches and community organizations, became active in politics, and held St. Patrick's Day parades, inviting all Minnesotans to become a little bit Irish. Author Ann Regan examines the history of these surprising contradictions, telling the diverse stories of the Irish in Minnesota.
From Fouad Ajami, an acclaimed author and chronicler of Arab politics, comes a compelling account of how a generation of Arab intellectuals tried to introduce cultural renewals in their homelands through the forces of modernity and secularism. Ultimately, they came to face disappointment, exile, and, on occasion, death. Brilliantly weaving together the strands of a tumultuous century in Arab political thought, history, and poetry, Ajami takes us from the ruins of Beirut's once glittering metropolis to the land of Egypt, where struggle rages between a modernist impulse and an Islamist insurgency, from Nasser's pan-Arab nationalist ambitions to the emergence of an uneasy Pax Americana in Arab lands, from the triumphalism of the Gulf War to the continuing anguished debate over the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.For anyone who seeks to understand the Middle East, here is an insider's unflinching analysis of the collision between intellectual life and political realities in the Arab world today.
A "civil rights Hall of Fame" (Kirkus) that was published to remarkable praise in conjunction with the NAACP's Centennial Celebration, Lift Every Voice is a momentous history of the struggle for civil rights told through the stories of men and women who fought inescapable racial barriers in the North as well as the South--keeping the promise of democracy alive from the earliest days of the twentieth century to the triumphs of the 1950s and 1960s.
Historian Patricia Sullivan unearths the little-known early decades of the NAACP's activism, telling startling stories of personal bravery, legal brilliance, and political maneuvering by the likes of W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, Walter White, Charles Houston, Ella Baker, Thurgood Marshall, and Roy Wilkins. In the critical postwar era, following a string of legal victories culminating in Brown v. Board, the NAACP knocked out the legal underpinnings of the segregation system and set the stage for the final assault on Jim Crow.
A sweeping and dramatic story woven deep into the fabric of American history--"history that helped shape America's consciousness, if not its soul" (Booklist)--Lift Every Voice offers a timeless lesson on how people, without access to the traditional levers of power, can create change under seemingly impossible odds.
Race is once again a leading issue in American politics. The clock has been turned back on the progress of the 1960s, and again hostility, resentment and racial conflict threaten to divide the nation.
As recalled in Honky, Dalton Conley's childhood has all of the classic elements of growing up in America. But the fact that he was one of the few white boys in a mostly black and Puerto Rican neighborhood on Manhattan's Lower East Side makes Dalton's childhood unique.At the age of three, he couldn't understand why the infant daughter of the black separatists next door couldn't be his sister, so he kidnapped her. By the time he was a teenager, he realized that not even a parent's devotion could protect his best friend from a stray bullet. Years after the privilege of being white and middle class allowed Conley to leave the projects, his entertaining memoir allows us to see how race and class impact us all. Perfectly pitched and daringly original, Honky is that rare book that entertains even as it informs.