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.'
Navigators vividly brings to life the stories of twelve African American artists who teach music, dance, and visual arts at colleges and universities that have traditionally been viewed as White institutions. In this captivating and moving book, Theresa Jenoure shows that there's a great deal to be learned from the experience of these teachers. She explores their visions and callings as creative artists and how they function in higher education. In so doing, she presents relevant ideas about the development and sustenance of creativity.As the twelve teachers' stories unfold, they share their hearts generously and speak their minds frankly, offering kaleidoscopic glimpses into their biographies. They talk about the various paths that led them to become artists and teachers, honoring special people and incidents that have aided them along the way. They identify some of the ways they became politicized, aware, or even positioned in social and political terms, giving names to forces that have shaped their views on social group membership. These are the stories we need to hear. Their voices resonate powerfully, presenting a rare opportunity to be moved and changed. Much more than merely an objective look at African Americans and the arts, Navigators is as alive and vibrant as the music, art, and dance it describes. Jenoure includes profiles and riffs to serve as bridges between the chapters. The profiles offer closer looks at four of the teachers; and the riffs, much like highly creative jazz compositions from which the word is borrowed, are interjected between the chapters, helping to merge fact with fiction.
In a coming-of-age story as enchantingly vivid and ribald as anything Mark Twain or Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., recounts his childhood in the mill town of Piedmont, West Virginia, in the 1950s and 1960s and ushers readers into a gossip, of lye-and-mashed-potato "processes," and of slyly stubborn resistance to the indignities of segregation.A winner of the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Award and the Lillian Smith Prize, Colored People is a pungent and poignant masterpiece of recollection, a work that extends and deepens our sense of African American history even as it entrances us with its bravura storytelling
From the end of postwar Reconstruction in the South to an analysis of the rise and fall of Black Power, acclaimed historian Adam Fairclough presents a straightforward synthesis of the century-long struggle of black Americans to achieve civil rights and equality in the United States. Beginning with Ida B. Wells and the campaign against lynching in the 1890s, Fairclough chronicles the tradition of protest that led to the formation of the NAACP, Booker T. Washington and the strategy of accommodation, Marcus Garvey and the push for black nationalism, through to Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and beyond. Throughout, Fairclough presents a judicious interpretation of historical events that balances the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement against the persistence of racial and economic inequalities.
Edited and with Notes by Shelly Eversley
Introduction by Robert Reid-Pharr
"Anne Moody's autobiography is an eloquent, moving testimonial to her courage."--Chicago Tribune Born to a poor couple who were tenant farmers on a plantation in Mississippi, Anne Moody lived through some of the most dangerous days of the pre-civil rights era in the South. The week before she began high school came the news of Emmet Till's lynching. Before then, she had "known the fear of hunger, hell, and the Devil. But now there was . . . the fear of being killed just because I was black." In that moment was born the passion for freedom and justice that would change her life. A straight-A student who realized her dream of going to college when she won a basketball scholarship, she finally dared to join the NAACP in her junior year. Through the NAACP and later through CORE and SNCC, she experienced firsthand the demonstrations and sit-ins that were the mainstay of the civil rights movement--and the arrests and jailings, the shotguns, fire hoses, police dogs, billy clubs, and deadly force that were used to destroy it. A deeply personal story but also a portrait of a turning point in our nation's destiny, this autobiography lets us see history in the making, through the eyes of one of the footsoldiers in the civil rights movement. Praise for Coming of Age in Mississippi
"A history of our time, seen from the bottom up, through the eyes of someone who decided for herself that things had to be changed . . . a timely reminder that we cannot now relax."--Senator Edward Kennedy, The New York Times Book Review "Something is new here . . . rural southern black life begins to speak. It hits the page like a natural force, crude and undeniable and, against all principles of beauty, beautiful."--The Nation
"Engrossing, sensitive, beautiful . . . so candid, so honest, and so touching, as to make it virtually impossible to put down."--San Francisco Sun-Reporter