Rest for the weary: the stories behind two black havens and a study on literary women offer enrichment.
* Finding Martha's Vineyard Martha's Vineyard (vĭn`yərd), island (1990 est. pop. 8,900), c.100 sq mi (260 sq km), SE Mass., separated from the Elizabeth Islands and Cape Cod by Vineyard and Nantucket sounds. : African Americans at Home on an Island by Jill Nelson, Doubleday, May 2005, $27.50, ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m 0-385-50566-3
Finding Martha's Vineyard is a must-read for those who want to understand the magic, power and draw of that 100-square-mile island off the coast of Massachusetts.
Nelson, a best-selling author (Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience, Penguin, July 1994; Straight, No Chaser chaser
a secondary or follow-up breeding male put in with a herd of cows or ewes when the fertility of the first stud is suspect. , Penguin, November 1999; Sexual Healing, Agate, June 2003), distills the essence of Oak Bluffs, a community that has long been a haven for generations of black families who have made the pilgrimage to the summertime resort for the "clean oceans, pristine beaches, rolling hills Rolling hills are like a mountain chain, only a "hill chain" of hills that roll on and on continually. You will often find them in between plains and mountains, near major rivers, or randomly anywhere. The only places without rolling hills are deserts and flood plains. and bluffs, ponds and cool breezes."
As a five-decade summer visitor and part-time resident, Nelson understands firsthand the lure of Oak Bluffs and its surrounding communities. Her book traces the island's history, first as the home of the Wampanoag Indians, then a haven for free slaves, indentured servants and skilled laborers, to a Methodist revival camp, the a middle-class vacation resort and homestead of the wealthy today.
In addition to the collection of personal memories by residents such as lawyer and political insider Vernon Jordan, writer Bebe Moore Campbell Bebe Moore Campbell (b. February 18 1950, Philadelphia - d. November 27 2006, Los Angeles) was the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me, which was also a and author Tonya Lee, Nelson has sprinkled favorite recipes and intimate photos along with the details of the historical and social significance of Oak Bluffs.
But Finding Martha's Vineyard is best when Nelson shares her family story, which she does at the beginning of nearly every chapter. It's on Martha's Vineyard, we find, that she learned to kiss, swim, become a writer, raise her daughter and keep her mother's spirit alive even after she passes on.
--Reviewed by Ingrid Sturgis Ingrid Sturgis is editor of Essence.com and the editor of Aunties: Thirty-Five Writers Celebrate Their Other Mother (Ballantine Books, May 2004).
Black Then: Blacks and Montreal 1780s-1880s by Frank Mackey, McGill-Queens University Press, August 2004 $19.95, ISBN 0-773-52736-2
Most of us would struggle to conjure up or make visible, as a spirit, by magic arts; hence, to invent; as, to conjure up a story; to conjure up alarms s>.
See also: Conjure the history of blacks in Canada, let alone the lives of blacks in Montreal between 1780s and 1880s. And even when the history of blacks in Canada is told, it often focuses disproportionately on the lives of blacks in Ontario, particularly those who escaped American slavery to arrive in Canaan Land by way of the Underground Railroad. Likewise, contemporary black Canadian history, one that usually centers on the 80-plus years of black immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. from the Caribbean and Africa, tends to emphasize how they came looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. better opportunities.
It is no wonder then that black life north of the 59th parallel often seems to be freedom bound. But what is sometimes lost in this storytelling is Canada's complex history of racism, slavery, anti-black immigration and rigid deportation laws. But Canadian researchers, scholars and writers alike have been working for years to address this by publishing a range of books that seek to demythologize de·my·thol·o·gize
tr.v. de·my·thol·o·gized, de·my·thol·o·giz·ing, de·my·thol·o·giz·es
1. To rid of mythological elements in order to discover the underlying meaning: this history. Frank Mackey's Black Then is one such book.
Though not intended as a scholarly work, Black Then is rich with information on black life in Montreal that few--on either side of the border--ever knew existed. It is a creative and often engaging blend of historical fiction that draws on exhaustive archival research to present 30 narratives about what life in Montreal may have been like. Although Mackey is guided by what the documentary record says of the people he writes about, it is clear that he takes some sweeping liberties with dialogue in much the same vein as Jewell Parker Rhodes Jewell Parker Rhodes (b.1954 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American novelist.
Rhodes is professor of Creative Writing and American Literature and former Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. in Douglass's Women (Atria Atria
The heart has four chambers. The right and left atria are at the top of the heart and receive returning blood from the veins. The right and left ventricles are at the bottom of the heart and act as the body's main pumps. , October 2002). What stands out in Black Then is the diversity of black society back then, as the characters range from those who were successful entrepreneurs integrated into mainstream society to those who were barely able to secure their freedom. The best of Mackey's narratives present characters who have been challenged and who have triumphed, as this resonates well with the contemporary reality.
It is the writing style, though, that serves as both strength and weakness in this book. Though Black Then is written for a more general audience, the creative prose style can get a little tedious, particularly at the moments where it feels as though the author intends for the audience to be as marveled by this history as he is. Nonetheless, Black Then is an extremely valuable contribution to the ever-growing list of resources on black Canadian history, particularly because it provides historically relevant glimpses into complexity of black life beyond the Underground Railroad.
--Reviewed by Dara N. Byrne, Ph.D. A Canadian, Dara N. Byrne is a professor at John Jay College (CUNY CUNY City University of New York ) in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. .
* Worrying the Line: Black Women Writers, Lineage and Literary Tradition by Cheryl A. Wall, University of North Carolina Press The University of North Carolina Press (or UNC Press), founded in 1922, is a university press that is part of the University of North Carolina. External link
The latest release in the Gender and American Culture series from the UNC (Universal Naming Convention) A standard for identifying servers, printers and other resources in a network, which originated in the Unix community. A UNC path uses double slashes or backslashes to precede the name of the computer. Press is a lucid map of black women's late-20th century literary writing deftly rendered by Wall, a Rutgers University English professor. This is a work of literary criticism I would recommend to nonacademic readers--and reading groups--who want to know more about how our most gifted African American women narrative artists work their magic to enhance readers' appreciation of the miracle of African American families, our cultural wealth and dramatic historical legacy.
Wall weaves a vivid tapestry that allows readers to see clearly common themes and significant relationships among the represented texts and better comprehend the rich cultural sources upon which the writers draw.
Wall's insights will send you back for another more rewarding round rereading Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon Song of Solomon, Song of Songs, or Canticles, book of the Bible, 22d in the order of the Authorized Version. Although traditionally ascribed to King Solomon, many scholars date it as late as the 3d cent. B.C. , Alice Walker's The Color Purple and her many essays, Lucille Clifton's poetic family epic Generations, and Paule Marshall's Praisesong for the Widow to name only a few titles. By showing you what she believes each author is up to in these works, she offers readers a more detailed appreciation for each one's distinctive mastery and control of her craft.
--Reviewed by Susan McHenry Susan McHenry is a founding editor of BIBR BIBR Bay Islands Beach Resort (Roatan, Honduras)
BIBR Backward Indicator Bit Received , now editor-at-large, and an editor for Essence magazine.
Black Studies As Human Studies: Critical Essays and Interviews by Joyce A. Joyce State University of New York Press The State University of New York Press (or SUNY Press), founded in 1966, is a university press that is part of State University of New York system. External link
Educators today teach a generation of students who can turn to film and television as literature, rap music as social theory, video games as visual art, and instant messaging as discourse. We live in a post-Benetton age in which it is argued that race is a socially constructed illusion. "Multiculturalism" has become a vintage catchphrase Noun 1. catchphrase - a phrase that has become a catchword
phrase - an expression consisting of one or more words forming a grammatical constituent of a sentence archived with other "groovy groov·y
adj. groov·i·er, groov·i·est Slang
Very pleasing; wonderful.
groovi·ness n. " taglines like "dy-no-mite" and "affirmative action affirmative action, in the United States, programs to overcome the effects of past societal discrimination by allocating jobs and resources to members of specific groups, such as minorities and women. ." What's more, black culture is deeply woven into the American fabric, yet universities debate the merits of black studies as a legitimate academic field. So how do black studies scholars meet such challenges? Joyce offers a solution.
For more than 25 years, Joyce has confronted the status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. of traditional scholarship; and in her latest effort, she continues pushing the envelope. Aligning her thesis with work begun by Sonia Sanchez, Askia Toure and Amiri Baraka, artists and scholars who formed the nation's first black studies program in the late 1960s, Joyce presents black studies as a field, ahead of its time, that engages multiple disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. With an intellectual pop culture fusion of literary criticism and social commentary, Joyce presents 10 essays that stand as examples of her interdisciplinary model.
The book is relatively short and is written more specifically for academics. Through her investigation of literature, film and interviews, the author supports her main argument and demonstrates how scholars must rethink what and how they teach to better reflect current social trends as well as students' experiences and interests.
--Reviewed by Aaron Bryant Aaron Bryant teaches Critics of American Culture at the University of Maryland University of Maryland can refer to:
Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? by Michael Eric Dyson, Basic Civitas Books May 2005 $23, ISBN 0-465-0179-3
Dyson doesn't care much for Bill Cosby. This is evident in Dyson's latest tome.
For all of 304 pages, Dyson disses and dices the comic's famous (or infamous, depending on point of view) comments he made about some poor black people at an NAACP NAACP
in full National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Oldest and largest U.S. civil rights organization. It was founded in 1909 to secure political, educational, social, and economic equality for African Americans; W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida B. award program in 2004. Among other caustic comments, Cosby said to the black-tied audience: "Ladies and gentlemen, the lower-economic and lower-middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal. In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on."
Dyson was outraged by such commentary from a wealthy black man talking to other affluent black people. So outraged, he suggests that the black middle class has "lost its mind" in "the vicious assault of the Afristocracy on the Ghettocracy."
Nice imagery, but it's erroneous. Indeed, the entire book is a misguided assault on the wrong people. Where Dyson says he's at tempting to "offer a principled defense of poor black folk," he's actually arguing for the diminuntion of traditional, black, middle-class values and authority over their troubled communities.
I've spent enough time recently with Cosby to know that this is his message. But Dyson, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania (body, education) University of Pennsylvania - The home of ENIAC and Machiavelli.
Address: Philadelphia, PA, USA. in Philadelphia, hasn't and isn't likely to engage Cosby, who lives part-time in Philadelphia, in a face-to-face conversation even though both of them live not so very tar apart in geography or ideology. Both are genuinely concerned about what's happening to black people--and poor black people in particular.
Yet they might as well live on different planets. Dyson's impassioned screed screed
1. A long monotonous speech or piece of writing.
a. A strip of wood, plaster, or metal placed on a wall or pavement as a guide for the even application of plaster or concrete.
b. blisters Cosby for not marking more of white oppression, systemic racism and the usual blather about what the white man has done to poor black people. He suggests that Cosby, contrary to what the man says, is more concerned with what white people think about black people than actually addressing the harm that racism does to poor black people.
"In truth," Dyson writes, "Cosby's position vividly revives the embarrassment over the bad behavior of the poor that the black elite have felt for more than a century."
Later, deeper in the hook, Dyson reveals that he--the defender of poor blacks and their self-destructive behavior--is more concerned with what the white man thinks.
* "[I]t is perhaps the affirming signal that Cosby's vicious assault sends to equally vicious right wing interests that is most damaging," says Dyson.
There lies the real battleground at the heart of his unfortunate book. There's less of a fight between warring black classes--Afristocracy versus Ghettocracy--and more of an age-old difference in opinions about the best place to debate how black people might rise.
Cosby was bold enough to say what needs to be said and what many of us say in private. And Dyson just doesn't like that one bit.
--Reviewed by Sam Fulwood III Sam Fulwood III is a columnist for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the author of Full of It: Strong Words and Fresh Thinking for Cleveland (Gray Publishing, August 2004).