Former slaves themselves--an important but long-neglected source of information about the institution of slavery in the United States. Who could better describe what slavery was like than the people who experienced it? And describe it they did, in thousands of remarkable interviews sponsored by the Federal Writers' Project during the 1930s. More than 170 interviews were conducted in North Carolina. Belinda Hurmence pored over each of the North Carolina narratives, compiling and editing 21 of the first-person accounts for this collection.
Belinda Hurmence was born in Oklahoma, raised in Texas, and educated at the University of Texas and Columbia University. She has written several novels for young people, including Tough Tiffany (an ALA Notable Book), A Girl Called Boy (winner of the Parents' Choice Award), Tancy (winner of a Golden Kite Award), and The Nightwalker.
She has also edited We Lived in a Little Cabin in the Yard and Before Freedom, When I Just Can Remember, companion volumes to this book. She now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
This is the moving and powerful account of tworemarkable boys struggling to survive in Chicago'sHenry Horner Homes, a public housing complexdisfigured by crime and neglect."
"My Bondage and My Freedom," writes John Stauffer in his Foreword, " is] a deep meditation on the meaning of slavery, race, and freedom, and on the power of faith and literacy, as well as a portrait of an individual and a nation a few years before the Civil War." As his narrative unfolds, Frederick Douglass--abolitionist, journalist, orator, and one of the most powerful voices to emerge from the American civil rights movement--transforms himself from slave to fugitive to reformer, leaving behind a legacy of social, intellectual, and political thought. Set from the text of the 1855 first edition, this Modern Library Paperback Classic includes Douglass's original Appendix, composed of excerpts from the author's speeches as well as a letter he wrote to his former master.
In 1877, Standing Bear and his Indian people, the Ponca, were forcibly removed from their land in northern Nebraska. In defiance, Standing Bear sued in U.S. District Court for the right to return home. In a landmark case, the judge, for the first time in U.S. history, recognized Native American rights-acknowledging that "Standing Bear is a person"-and ruled in favor of Standing Bear. Standing Bear Is a Person is the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of that landmark 1879 court case, and the subsequent reverberations of the judge's ruling across nineteenth-century America. It is also a story filled with memorable characters typical of the Old West-the crusty and wise Indian chief, Standing Bear, the Army Indian-fighting general who became a strong Indian supporter, the crusading newspaper editor who championed Standing Bear's cause, and the "most beautiful Indian maiden of her time," Bright Eyes, who became Standing Bear's national spokesperson. At a time when America was obsessed with winning the West, no matter what, this is an intensely human story and a small victory for compassion. It is also the chronicle of an American tragedy: Standing Bear won his case, but the court's decision that should have changed everything, in the end, changed very little for America's Indians.
Attracted to remote lands by his interest in the postcolonial struggle, Richard Wright (1908-1960) became one of the few African Americans of his time to engage in travel writing. He went to emerging nations not as a sightseer but as a student of their cultures, learning the politics and the processes of social transformation.
When Wright fled from the United States in 1946 to live as an expatriate in Paris, he was exposed to intellectual thoughts and challenges that transcended his social and political education in America. Three events broadened his world view- his introduction to French existentialism, the rise of the Pan-Africanist movement to decolonize Africa, and Indonesia's declaration of independence from colonial rule in 1945. During the 1950s as he traveled to emerging nations his encounters produced four travel narratives-Black Power (1953), The Color Curtain (1956), Pagan Spain (1956), and White Man, Listen (1957). Upon his death in 1960, he left behind an unfinished book on French West Africa, which exists only in notes, outlines, and a draft.
Written by multinational scholars, this collection of essays exploring Wright's travel writings shows how in his hands the genre of travel writing resisted, adapted, or modified the forms and formats practiced by white authors. Enhanced by nine photographs taken by Wright during his travels, the essays focus on each of Wright's four separate narratives as well as upon his unfinished book and reveal how Wright drew on such non-Western influences as the African American slave narrative and Asian literature of protest and resistance. The essays critique Wright's representation of customs and people and employ a broad range of interpretive modes, including the theories of formalism, feminism, and postmodernism, among others.
Wright's travel books are proved here to be innovative narratives that laid down the roots of such later genres as postcolonial literature, contemporary travel writing, and resistance literature.
Virginia Whatley Smith is an associate professor of English at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Her work has appeared in African American Review, Mississippi Quarterly, and MLA Approaches to Teaching Wright's 'Native Son.'
"A manual for fixing our culture...In writing that is elegant and penetratingly simple, hooks] gives voice to some things we may know in our hearts but need an interpreter like her to process."--Black Issues Book Review
Bestselling author, acclaimed visionary and cultural critic bell hooks continues her exploration of the meaning of love in contemporary American society, offering groundbreaking, critical insight about Black people and love.
Written from both historical and cultural perspectives, Salvation takes an incisive look at the transformative power of love in the lives of African Americans. Whether talking about the legacy of slavery, relationships and marriage in Black life, the prose and poetry of Martin Luther King, Jr., James Baldwin, and Maya Angelou, the liberation movements of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, or hip hop and gangsta rap culture, hooks lets us know what love's got to do with it.
Combining the passionate politics of W.E.B. DuBois with fresh, contemporary insights, hooks brilliantly offers new visions that will heal our nation's wounds from a culture of lovelessness. Her writings on love and its impact on race, class, family, history, and popular culture raise all the relevant issues. This is work that helps us heal. Salvation shows us how to create beloved American communities.
At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document from the iconic author of If Beale Street Could Talk and Go Tell It on the Mountain. It consists of two letters, written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose, The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of literature.
A major figure in the Black Arts Movement and a founding member of the Umbra workshop, Lorenzo Thomas is one of the most heralded authors of his generation. Dancing on Main Street, Thomas's long-awaited collection spanning many decades of his career, blends traditional lyricism with a surrealist's touch and a realist's eye. Together, these poems form a cinematic look at the obsessions, -pleasures, trials, and tribulations of life on Main Street.
Lorenzo Thomas, who was born in Panama and grew up in New York City, is a poet, critic and professor of English at the University of Houston. His books of poetry include Chances Are Few, The Bathers and Sound Science. He is the recipient of two Poets Foundation awards and the Lucille Medwick Prize.