ADVENTURES IN BLACK AND WHITE, a memoir-travelogue first published in 1960, is being reissued with a critical introduction, including minor edits and annotations of the original text by scholar Tara Betts. Recognized as a prodigy at an early age, Philippa Duke Schuyler was heralded as America's first internationally-acclaimed mixed race celebrity. Her father, a conservative black journalist, and her mother, a white Texan heiress, dedicated Schuyler's development to the cause of integration with the claim that racial mixing could produce a superior hybrid human, a claim that Schuyler resisted, but would nonetheless hurl her into a destructive identity crisis that consumed her throughout her life. When the transition from child prodigy to concert pianist proved challenging in America, Schuyler, like many black performers before her, went abroad during the 1950s for larger audiences. Schuyler's witnessing first-hand the dissemblage of European colonies in Africa and the Middle East is the focus of ADVENTURES IN BLACK AND WHITE. This narrative connects the Harlem Renaissance to the prelude of the Civil Rights Movement at a time when the public conversation on interracial identity in America was just beginning. As Schuyler writes about Africa—"the homeland of her ancestors"—readers can begin to understand how the young musician would eventually find her way as an author and a journalist, and the books that followed.
“This book is both powerful and important. Powerful for the testimony it provides from Americans of many different (and even mixed races) about their experiences. And important because there is a racial revolution underway that will upend race as we know it during the twenty-first century.”
—John Kenneth White, Catholic University of America
America Beyond Black and White is a call for a new way of imagining race in America. For the first time in U.S. history, the black-white dichotomy that has historically defined race and ethnicity is being challenged, not by a small minority, but by the fastest-growing and arguably most vocal segment of the increasingly diverse American population—Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Indians, Arabs, and many more—who are breaking down and recreating the very definitions of race.
Drawing on interviews with hundreds of Americans who don’t fit conventional black/white categories, the author invites us to empathize with these “doubles” and to understand why they may represent our best chance to throw off the strictures of the black/white dichotomy.
The revolution is already underway, as newcomers and mixed-race “fusions” refuse to engage in the prevailing Anglo- Protestant culture. Americans face two choices: understand why these individuals think as they do, or face a future that continues to define us by what divides us rather than by what unites us.
Bette Davis’s career becomes a vehicle for a deep examination of American race relations.
Bette Davis was not only one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, but also one of its most outspoken advocates on matters of race. In Bette Davis Black and White, Julia A. Stern explores this largely untold facet of Davis’s brilliant career.
Bette Davis Black and White analyzes four of Davis’s best-known pictures—Jezebel (1938), The Little Foxes (1941), In This Our Life (1942), and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)—against the history of American race relations. Stern also weaves in memories of her own experiences as a young viewer, coming into racial consciousness watching Davis’s films on television in an all-white suburb of Chicago.
Davis’s egalitarian politics and unique collaborations with her Black costars offer Stern a window into midcentury American racial fantasy and the efforts of Black performers to disrupt it. This book incorporates testimony from Davis’s Black contemporaries, including James Baldwin and C. L. R. James, as well as the African American fans who penned letters to Warner Brothers praising Davis’s work. A unique combination of history, star study, and memoir, Bette Davis Black and White allows us to contemplate cross-racial spectatorship in new ways.
Black and White in Colour: African History on Screen considers how the African past has been represented in a wide range of historical films. Written by a team of eminent international scholars, the volume provides extensive coverage of both place and time and deals with major issues in the written history of Africa. Themes include the slave trade, imperialism and colonialism, racism, and anticolonial resistance. Many of the films will be familiar to readers: they include Out of Africa, Hotel Rwanda, Breaker Morant, Cry Freedom, The Battle of Algiers, and Chocolat.
This collection of essays is a highly original and useful contribution to African historiography, as well as a significant addition to the growing body of work within the emerging subdiscipline of “film and history.” It will appeal to those interested in African history and the ways in which films use the past to raise questions about the present.
Contributors: Mahir Saul, Ralph A. Austen, Robert Baum, Robert Harms, Nigel Worden, Carolyn Hamilton and Litheko Modisane, Richard Mendelsohn, Shamil Jeppie, Bill Nasson, Nigel Penn, Ruth Watson, Patrick Harries, David Moore, Teresa Barnes, Vivian Bickford-Smith, Mohamed Adhikari, and David Philips.
This consequential book takes a hard, systematic look at the depiction of blacks, whites, and race relations in Mark Twain's classic novel, raising questions about its canonical status in American literature.
Huckleberry Finn, one of the most widely taught novels in American literature, has long been the subject of ongoing debates over issues ranging from immorality to racism. Here, Elaine Mensh and Harry Mensh enter the debate with a careful and thoughtful examination of racial messages imbedded in the tale of Huck and Jim.
Using as a gauge for analysis the historical record left by both slaves and slaveholders, the Menshes compare Twain's depiction with historical reality, attempting to determine where the book either undermines or upholds traditional racial attitudes. Surveying the opinions of fellow critics, they challenge the current consensus that Huckleberry Finn fosters rapport between blacks and whites, arguing that the book does not subvert ingrained beliefs about race, and demonstrating that the argument over black-white relations in the novel is also an argument over non-fictional racial relations and conflicting perceptions of racial harmony.
Reading the novel in its historical context, the Menshes conclude that Twain, in the character of Huck, never questions the institution of slavery, and even supports it in both thought and action. In response to student and parent challenges to the inclusion of the book in literature classes, they suggest that it should remain in school libraries but not be required reading.
Of importance to scholars of Mark Twain and American literature, African American cultural studies, or anyone interested in issues of literature and race, this book adds a strong voice to the long-ranging debate over Huckleberry Finn.
Black, White, and in Color offers a long-awaited collection of major essays by Hortense Spillers, one of the most influential and inspiring black critics of the past twenty years. Spanning her work from the early 1980s, in which she pioneered a broadly poststructuralist approach to African American literature, and extending through her turn to cultural studies in the 1990s, these essays display her passionate commitment to reading as a fundamentally political act-one pivotal to rewriting the humanist project.
Spillers is best known for her race-centered revision of psychoanalytic theory and for her subtle account of the relationships between race and gender. She has also given literary criticism some of its most powerful readings of individual authors, represented here in seminal essays on Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, and William Faulkner. Ultimately, the essays collected in Black, White, and in Color all share Spillers's signature style: heady, eclectic, and astonishingly productive of new ideas. Anyone interested in African American culture and literature will want to read them.
Miles Davis, supremely cool behind his shades. Billie Holiday, eyes closed and head tilted back in full cry. John Coltrane, one hand behind his neck and a finger held pensively to his lips. These iconic images have captivated jazz fans nearly as much as the music has. Jazz photographs are visual landmarks in American history, acting as both a reflection and a vital part of African American culture in a time of immense upheaval, conflict, and celebration. Charting the development of jazz photography from the swing era of the 1930s to the rise of black nationalism in the ’60s, Blue Notes in Black and White is the first of its kind: a fascinating account of the partnership between two of the twentieth century’s most innovative art forms.
Benjamin Cawthra introduces us to the great jazz photographers—including Gjon Mili, William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Francis Wolff, Roy DeCarava, and William Claxton—and their struggles, hustles, styles, and creative visions. We also meet their legendary subjects, such as Duke Ellington, sweating through a late-night jam session for the troops during World War II, and Dizzy Gillespie, stylish in beret, glasses, and goatee. Cawthra shows us the connections between the photographers, art directors, editors, and record producers who crafted a look for jazz that would sell magazines and albums. And on the other side of the lens, he explores how the musicians shaped their public images to further their own financial and political goals.
This mixture of art, commerce, and racial politics resulted in a rich visual legacy that is vividly on display in Blue Notes in Black and White. Beyond illuminating the aesthetic power of these images, Cawthra ultimately shows how jazz and its imagery served a crucial function in the struggle for civil rights, making African Americans proudly, powerfully visible.
"This was really the first time that blues music, especially Chicago/urban blues, was showcased in this way. Sadly, the festivals were not recorded professionally. So Mr. Livingston's photos are the best record of the festivals."
---Michael Jewett, longtime weekday afternoon host of 89.1 Jazz and host of "Blues & Some Uthuh Stuff"
"The photos are works of art. It is great to see photos of musicians such as Buddy Guy and James Cotton looking so young and vibrant. And it is great to see photos of blues legends such as John Lee Hooker, Roosevelt Sykes, Howlin' Wolf, and Son House, who have long since passed away."
---Peter Madcat Ruth, Grammy-winning blues harmonica player
"If Woodstock was one of the Fifty Moments That Changed Rock 'n' Roll History, as honored in Rolling Stone magazine, then the Ann Arbor Blues Festival was the coronation for the blues roots that sired rock to begin with. . . . finally we have this amazing book of Stanley Livingston's priceless images, along with Michael Erlewine's detailed chronology."
---From the foreword by Jim O'Neal, Cofounder, Living Blues Magazine
In 1969 and 1970, the first Ann Arbor Blues Festivals brought together the greatest-ever selection of blues performers---an enormous blues party that seemed to feature every big name in the world of blues.
The Ann Arbor Blues Festival was just that: a festival and celebration of city blues. It helped to mark the discovery of modern blues music (and the musicians who made that music) by a much larger audience. The festival, however, was something more than just a white audience discovering black music.
Never before had such a far-reaching list of performers been assembled, including the grandfathers of southern country blues and the hottest electric bands from Chicago. These groundbreaking festivals were the seed that grew into the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, which was continued annually for many years. To name just a few of the dozens of artists who performed at the festival: Luther Allison, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Hound Dog Taylor, Big Mama Thorton, T-Bone Walker, Sippie Wallace, Junior Wells, and Mighty Joe Young.
Stanley Livingston, a professional photographer from Ann Arbor, captured these legendary performances onstage---as well as the goings-on backstage. Livingston's thousands of photographs from these festivals, previously unpublished and known only to a few, are among the finest candid blues shots ever taken. Together with editor and archivist Michael Erlewine's text accompaniments, these photographs, reproduced here as high-quality duotones, comprise a visual history and important keepsake for blues aficionados everywhere.
Stanley Livingston was an award-winning photographer living and working in Ann Arbor until he passed away in 2010, after the book was released.
Michael Erlewine, also from Ann Arbor, is a renowned archivist of popular culture and founder of the All-Music Guide (allmusic.com) and editor of a number of books on blues and jazz.
Can a type of music be "owned"? Examining how music is linked to racial constructs and how African American musicians and audiences reacted to white appropriation, Blues Music in the Sixties shows the stakes when whites claim the right to play and live the blues.
In the 1960s, within the larger context of the civil rights movement and the burgeoning counterculture, the blues changed from black to white in its production and reception, as audiences became increasingly white. Yet, while this was happening, blackness--especially black masculinity--remained a marker of authenticity. Crossing color lines and mixing the beats of B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Janis Joplin; the Newport Folk Festival and the American Folk Blues Festival; and publications such as Living Blues, Ulrich Adelt discusses these developments, including the international aspects of the blues. He highlights the performers and venues that represented changing racial politics and addresses the impact and involvement of audiences and cultural brokers.
"BookMarks is a moving and revelatory memoir... a work of fiercely intelligent scholarship." - Susan Larson,
"Erudite and emotional in turns, [BookMarks] is full of truths that appeal to the head and the heart." - Charlotte News Observer"
What are you reading? What books have been important to you? Whether you are interviewing for a job, chatting with a friend or colleague, or making small talk, these questions arise almost unfailingly. Some of us have stock responses, which may or may not be a fiction of our own making. Others gauge their answers according to who is asking the question. Either way, the replies that we give are thoughtfully crafted to suggest the intelligence, worldliness, political agenda, or good humor that we are hoping to convey. We form our answers carefully because we know that our responses say a lot.
But what exactly do our answers say? In BookMarks, Karla FC Holloway explores the public side of reading, and specifically how books and booklists form a public image of African Americans. Revealing her own love of books and her quirky passion for their locations in libraries and on bookshelves, Holloway reflects on the ways that her parents guided her reading when she was young and her bittersweet memories of reading to her children. She takes us on a personal and candid journey that considers the histories of reading in children’s rooms, prison libraries, and “Negro” libraries of the early twentieth century, and that finally reveals how her identity as a scholar, a parent, and an African American woman has been subject to judgments that public cultures make about race and our habits of reading.
Holloway is the first to call our attention to a remarkable trend of many prominent African American writers—including Maya Angelou, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry Louis Gates, Malcolm X, and Zora Neale Hurston. Their autobiographies and memoirs are consistently marked with booklists—records of their own habits of reading. She examines these lists, along with the trends of selection in Oprah Winfrey’s popular book club, raising the questions: What does it mean for prominent African Americans to associate themselves with European learning and culture? How do books by black authors fare in the inevitable hierarchy of a booklist?
BookMarks provides a unique window into the ways that African Americans negotiate between black and white cultures. This compelling rumination on reading is a book that everyone should add to their personal collections and proudly carry “cover out.”
This innovative study examines the development of institutional childcare from 1878 to 1929, based on a comparison of two "sister" orphanages in Pittsburgh: the all-white United Presbyterian Orphan's Home and the all-black Home for Colored Children. Drawing on quantitative analysis of the records of more than 1,500 children living at the two orphanages, as well as census data, city logs, and contemporary social science surveys, this study raises new questions about the role of childcare in constructing and perpetrating social inequality in the United States.
The first ever Temple University adult coloring book, Color Me...Cherry & White contains more than twenty iconic Temple University landmarks. From the magnificent Baptist Temple with its ornate stained glass windows, to Hooter the Owl, the campus food trucks, and the SEPTA rail station, students, parents, and alumni—even future Owls—now have a personal campus canvas to color with markers, pencils or crayons.
The images in Color Me...Cherry & White were created from photographs from the University Photography Department and crafted into pages for amateur artists to beautify. The designs will stoke memories as well as provide stress relief as artists create their own impressions of the campus. Moreover, this keepsake will make the perfect gift and provide memories for the worldwide Temple community.
Conjoined twins have long been a subject of fantasy, fascination, and freak shows. In this first collection of its kind, Millie-Christine McKoy, African American twins born in 1851, and Daisy and Violet Hilton, English twins born in 1908, speak for themselves through memoirs that help us understand what it is like to live physically joined to someone else. Conjoined Twins in Black and White provides contemporary readers with the twins’ autobiographies, the first two “show histories” to be republished since their original appearance, a previously unpublished novella, and a nineteenth-century medical examination, each of which attempts to define these women and reveal the issues of race, gender, and the body prompted by the twins themselves. The McKoys, born slaves, were kidnapped and taken to Britain, where they worked as entertainers until they were reunited with their mother in an emotional chance encounter. The Hiltons, cast away by their horrified mother at birth, worked the carnival circuit as vaudeville performers until the WWII economy forced them to the burlesque stage. The hardships, along with the triumphs, experienced by these very different sister sets lend insight into our fascination with conjoined twins.
Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White is an arresting and moving personal story about childhood, race, and identity in the American South, rendered in stunning illustrations by the author, Lila Quintero Weaver.
In 1961, when Lila was five, she and her family emigrated from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Marion, Alabama, in the heart of Alabama’s Black Belt. As educated, middle-class Latino immigrants in a region that was defined by segregation, the Quinteros occupied a privileged vantage from which to view the racially charged culture they inhabited. Weaver and her family were firsthand witnesses to key moments in the civil rights movement. But Darkroom is her personal story as well: chronicling what it was like being a Latina girl in the Jim Crow South, struggling to understand both a foreign country and the horrors of our nation’s race relations. Weaver, who was neither black nor white, observed very early on the inequalities in the American culture, with its blonde and blue-eyed feminine ideal. Throughout her life, Lila has struggled to find her place in this society and fought against the discrimination around her.
The essays in Europe in Black and White offer new critical perspectives on race, immigration, and identity on the Old Continent. In reconsidering the various forms of encounters with difference, such as multiculturalism and hybridity, the contributors address a number of issues, including the cartography of postcolonial Europe, its relation to the production of "difference" and "race," and national and identity politics and their dependence on linguistic practices inherited from imperial times. Featuring scholars from a wide variety of nationalities and disciplinary areas, this collection will speak to an equally wide readership.
In these intertwined essays on art, music, and identity, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, the daughter of African American and Italian American parents, examines the experience of her mixed-race identity. Embracing the far-ranging stimuli of her media-obsessed upbringing, she grasps at news clippings, visual fragments, and lyrics from past and present in order to weave together a world of sense.
Art in all forms guides the author toward understanding concepts like blackness, jazz, mortality, riots, space, time, self, and other without falling prey to the myth that all things must exist within a system of binaries. Recalling her awkward attempts at coolness during her childhood, Sabatini Sloan evokes Thelonious Monk’s stage persona as a metaphor for blackness. Through the conceptual art of Adrian Piper, the author is able to understand what is so quietly menacing about the sharp, clean lines of an art gallery where she works as an assistant. The result is a compelling meditation on identity and representation.
By 1808, both Britain and the United States had passed laws outlawing the transatlantic slave trade. Yet the trade covertly carried on. In the summer of 1813, in what is now Liberia, a compound of slave pens was bursting with sick and anguished captives, guarded by other African slaves. As a British patrol swooped down on the illicit barracoon, the slavers burned the premises to the ground, hoping to destroy evidence.
This story can be told because of an exceptional trove of court documents that provides unparalleled insight into one small link in the great, horrific chain of slavery. Emma Christopher follows a trail of evidence across four continents to examine the lives of this barracoon's owners, their workers, and their tragic human merchandise. She reveals how an American, Charles Mason, escaped justice, while British subjects Robert Bostock and John McQueen were arrested. In court five African men—Tamba, Tom Ball, Yarra, Noah, and Sessay—courageously testified against their former owners/captors. They, and 233 other liberated men, women, and children, were relocated to Freetown, Sierra Leone. There they endured harsh lives of "freedom," while the punishment of Bostock and McQueen was fleeting.
From the fragmented facts of these lives, Christopher sheds fascinating light on the early development of the nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Australia (where Bostock and McQueen were banished) and the role of former slaves in combatting the illegal trade.
Winner of the 2020 Zócalo Public Square Book Prize
“Clear-eyed and meticulous…While depicting the terrors of Jim Crow, [Sturkey] also shows how Hattiesburg’s black residents, forced to forge their own communal institutions, laid the organizational groundwork for the civil rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s.” —New York Times
“Sturkey’s magnificent portrait reminds us that Mississippi is no anachronism. It is the dark heart of American modernity.” —Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk
If you really want to understand Jim Crow—what it was and how African Americans rose up to defeat it—you should start by visiting Mobile Street in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the heart of the historic black downtown. There you can see remnants of the shops and churches where, amid the violence and humiliation of segregation, men and women gathered to build a remarkable community. William Sturkey introduces us to both old-timers and newcomers who arrived in search of economic opportunities promised by the railroads, sawmills, and factories of the New South. And he takes us across town into the homes of white Hattiesburgers to show how their lives were shaped by the changing fortunes of the Jim Crow South.
A leading civil rights historian places Robert Kennedy for the first time at the center of the movement for racial justice of the 1960s—and shows how many of today’s issues can be traced back to that pivotal time.
History, race, and politics converged in the 1960s in ways that indelibly changed America. In Justice Rising, a landmark reconsideration of Robert Kennedy’s life and legacy, Patricia Sullivan draws on government files, personal papers, and oral interviews to reveal how he grasped the moment to emerge as a transformational leader.
When protests broke out across the South, the young attorney general confronted escalating demands for racial justice. What began as a political problem soon became a moral one. In the face of vehement pushback from Southern Democrats bent on massive resistance, he put the weight of the federal government behind school desegregation and voter registration. Bobby Kennedy’s youthful energy, moral vision, and capacity to lead created a momentum for change. He helped shape the 1964 Civil Rights Act but knew no law would end racism. When the Watts uprising brought calls for more aggressive policing, he pushed back, pointing to the root causes of urban unrest: entrenched poverty, substandard schools, and few job opportunities. RFK strongly opposed the military buildup in Vietnam, but nothing was more important to him than “the revolution within our gates, the struggle of the American Negro for full equality and full freedom.”
On the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination, Kennedy’s anguished appeal captured the hopes of a turbulent decade: “In this difficult time for the United States it is perhaps well to ask what kind of nation we are and what direction we want to move in.” It is a question that remains urgent and unanswered.
Look, a White! returns the problem of whiteness to white people. Prompted by Eric Holder's charge, that as Americans, we are cowards when it comes to discussing the issue of race, noted philosopher George Yancy's essays map out a structure of whiteness.
He considers whiteness within the context of racial embodiment, film, pedagogy, colonialism, its "danger," and its position within the work of specific writers. Identifying the embedded and opaque ways white power and privilege operate, Yancy argues that the Black countergaze can function as a "gift" to whites in terms of seeing their own whiteness more effectively.
Throughout Look, a White! Yancy pays special attention to the impact of whiteness on individuals, as well as on how the structures of whiteness limit the capacity of social actors to completely untangle the way whiteness operates, thus preventing the erasure of racism in social life.
Committed to the struggle for civil rights, in the late 1950s Joan Steinau marched and protested as a white ally and young woman coming to terms with her own racism. She fell in love and married a fellow activist, the Black writer Julius Lester, establishing a partnership that was long and multifaceted but not free of the politics of race and gender. As the women’s movement dawned, feminism helped Lester find her voice, her pansexuality, and the courage to be herself.
Braiding intellectual, personal, and political history, Lester tells the story of a writer and activist fighting for love and justice before, during, and after the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision striking down bans on interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia. She describes her own shifts in consciousness, from an activist climbing police barricades by day and reading and writing late into the night to a woman navigating the coming-out process in midlife, before finding the publishing success she had dreamed of. Speaking candidly about every facet of her life, Lester illuminates her journey to fulfillment and healing.
This pathbreaking study traces the rise--and subsequent fall--of the
United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA). Roger Horowitz emphasizes
local leaders and meatpacking workers in Chicago, Kansas City, Sioux City,
and Austin, Minnesota, and closely examines the unionizing of the workplace
and the prominent role of black workers and women in UPWA.
In clear, anecdotal style, Horowitz shows how three major firms in U.S.
meat production and distribution became dominant by virtually eliminating
union power. The union's decline, he argues, reflected massive pressure
by capital for lower labor costs and greater control over the work process.
In the end, the victorious firms were those that had been most successful
at increasing the rate of exploitation of their workers, who now labor
in conditions as bad as those of a century ago.
"The definitive study of unionism in the meatpacking industry for
the period since the 1920's." -- James R. Barrett, author of Work and Community in the Jungle: Chicago's Packinghouse Workers, 1894-1922 A volume in the series The Working Class in American History, edited by David Brody, Alice Kessler-Harris, David Montgomery, and Sean Wilentz Supported by the Illinois Labor History Society
Immigration is one of the driving forces behind social change in the United States, continually reshaping the way Americans think about race and ethnicity. How have various racial and ethnic groups—including immigrants from around the globe, indigenous racial minorities, and African Americans—related to each other both historically and today? How have these groups been formed and transformed in the context of the continuous influx of new arrivals to this country? In Not Just Black and White, editors Nancy Foner and George M. Fredrickson bring together a distinguished group of social scientists and historians to consider the relationship between immigration and the ways in which concepts of race and ethnicity have evolved in the United States from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. Not Just Black and White opens with an examination of historical and theoretical perspectives on race and ethnicity. The late John Higham, in the last scholarly contribution of his distinguished career, defines ethnicity broadly as a sense of community based on shared historical memories, using this concept to shed new light on the main contours of American history. The volume also considers the shifting role of state policy with regard to the construction of race and ethnicity. Former U.S. census director Kenneth Prewitt provides a definitive account of how racial and ethnic classifications in the census developed over time and how they operate today. Other contributors address the concept of panethnicity in relation to whites, Latinos, and Asian Americans, and explore socioeconomic trends that have affected, and continue to affect, the development of ethno-racial identities and relations. Joel Perlmann and Mary Waters offer a revealing comparison of patterns of intermarriage among ethnic groups in the early twentieth century and those today. The book concludes with a look at the nature of intergroup relations, both past and present, with special emphasis on how America's principal non-immigrant minority—African Americans—fits into this mosaic. With its attention to contemporary and historical scholarship, Not Just Black and White provides a wealth of new insights about immigration, race, and ethnicity that are fundamental to our understanding of how American society has developed thus far, and what it may look like in the future.
Red, White & Black is a provocative critique of socially engaged films and related critical discourse. Offering an unflinching account of race and representation, Frank B. Wilderson III asks whether such films accurately represent the structure of U.S. racial antagonisms. That structure, he argues, is based on three essential subject positions: that of the White (the “settler,” “master,” and “human”), the Red (the “savage” and “half-human”), and the Black (the “slave” and “non-human”). Wilderson contends that for Blacks, slavery is ontological, an inseparable element of their being. From the beginning of the European slave trade until now, Blacks have had symbolic value as fungible flesh, as the non-human (or anti-human) against which Whites have defined themselves as human. Just as slavery is the existential basis of the Black subject position, genocide is essential to the ontology of the Indian. Both positions are foundational to the existence of (White) humanity.
Wilderson provides detailed readings of two films by Black directors, Antwone Fisher (Denzel Washington) and Bush Mama (Haile Gerima); one by an Indian director, Skins (Chris Eyre); and one by a White director, Monster’s Ball (Marc Foster). These films present Red and Black people beleaguered by problems such as homelessness and the repercussions of incarceration. They portray social turmoil in terms of conflict, as problems that can be solved (at least theoretically, if not in the given narratives). Wilderson maintains that at the narrative level, they fail to recognize that the turmoil is based not in conflict, but in fundamentally irreconcilable racial antagonisms. Yet, as he explains, those antagonisms are unintentionally disclosed in the films’ non-narrative strategies, in decisions regarding matters such as lighting, camera angles, and sound.
Red, White, and Blues, a new anthology from the award-winning editors of Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America and Vespers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality, offers a chorus of contemporary American poets on the idea of liberty, democracy, patriotism, and the American Dream;a twenty-first-century "Song of Myself” for the entire country.
The poems in Red, White, and Blues reflect our collective memory—from icons of pop culture to national disasters and times of unrest. Yet they are not simply reflections of the headline news or political diatribes of the day; instead, they provide roadmaps of American history—roadmaps of where we’ve been, who we are, and where we’re going as a nation.
Poets as diverse as Martín Espada and Paisley Rekdal, J. P. Dancing Bear and Vivian Shipley seek to answer questions that resonate within the heart of our national identity—what does it mean to be an American? What is the American Dream? How does one define patriotism? Regardless of ethnicity, gender, or class, each poet’s answer to such questions proves that our experiences unite us more than they divide us.
Red, White, and Blues is an ambitious collection of the finest contemporary poetry on the subject of America and the indefatigable spirit of its citizens. Its poems don’t pull punches, nor do they celebrate without cause. They show spirit and excitement, outrage and joy, solemnity and ambiguity—all reflections of our wonderfully diverse nation.
What does it mean to be young, American, and white at the dawn of the twenty-first century? By exploring this question and revealing the everyday social processes by which high schoolers define white identities, Pamela Perry offers much-needed insights into the social construction of race and whiteness among youth. Through ethnographic research and in-depth interviews of students in two demographically distinct U.S. high schools—one suburban and predominantly white; the other urban, multiracial, and minority white—Perry shares students’ candor about race and self-identification. By examining the meanings students attached (or didn’t attach) to their social lives and everyday cultural practices, including their taste in music and clothes, she shows that the ways white students defined white identity were not only markedly different between the two schools but were considerably diverse and ambiguous within them as well. Challenging reductionist notions of whiteness and white racism, this study suggests how we might go “beyond whiteness” to new directions in antiracist activism and school reform. Shades of White is emblematic of an emerging second wave of whiteness studies that focuses on the racial identity of whites. It will appeal to scholars and students of anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies, as well as to those involved with high school education and antiracist activities.
In Tracing Southern Storytelling in Black and White, Sarah Gilbreath Ford explores how both black and white southern writers such as Joel Chandler Harris, Charles Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Ralph Ellison, Ellen Douglas, and Ernest Gaines have employed oral storytelling in literature.
Tracing Southern Storytelling in Black and White is a study of the historical use of oral storytelling by southern writers in written works. In each chapter, Sarah Gilbreath Ford pairs a white and an African American writer to highlight points of confluence in black and white southern oral traditions. She argues that the connections between white and African American southern writers run deeper than critics have yet explored, and she uses textual comparisons to examine the racial mixing of oral culture.
On porches, in kitchens, and on the pages of their work, black and white southerners exchanged not just stories but strategies for telling stories. As a boy, Joel Chandler Harris listened to the stories of African American slaves, and he devised a framework to turn the oral stories into written ones. Harris’s use of the frame structure influenced how Charles Chesnutt recorded oral stories, but it led Alice Walker to complain that her heritage had been stolen. Mark Twain listened to African American storytellers as a child. His use of oral dialects then impacts how Ralph Ellison and William Faulkner employ oral storytelling and how Toni Morrison later writes in response to Faulkner. The interactions are not linear, not a chain of influence, but a network of interactions, borrowings, and revisions.
Ford’s pairings lead to new readings that reveal how the writers employ similar strategies in their narratives, due in part to shared historical context. While Zora Neale Hurston and William Faulkner, for example, use oral storytelling in the 1930s to examine the fear of racial mixing, Ellen Douglas and Ernest Gaines use it in the 1970s to build bridges between the races. Exploring the cultural crossing that occurs in the use of oral storytelling, Ford offers a different view of this common strategy in southern narrative and a new perspective on how culture is shared.
In the Afro-Cuban Lukumi religious tradition—more commonly known in the United States as Santería—entrants into the priesthood undergo an extraordinary fifty-three-week initiation period. During this time, these novices—called iyawo—endure a host of prohibitions, including most notably wearing exclusively white clothing. In A Year in White, sociologist C. Lynn Carr, who underwent this initiation herself, opens a window on this remarkable year-long religious transformation.
In her intimate investigation of the “year in white,” Carr draws on fifty-two in-depth interviews with other participants, an online survey of nearly two hundred others, and almost a decade of her own ethnographic fieldwork, gathering stories that allow us to see how cultural newcomers and natives thought, felt, and acted with regard to their initiation. She documents how, during the iyawo year, the ritual slowly transforms the initiate’s identity. For the first three months, for instance, the iyawo may not use a mirror, even to shave, and must eat all meals while seated on a mat on the floor using only a spoon and their own set of dishes. During the entire year, the iyawo loses their name and is simply addressed as “iyawo” by family and friends.
Carr also shows that this year-long religious ritual—which is carried out even as the iyawo goes about daily life—offers new insight into religion in general, suggesting that the sacred is not separable from the profane and indeed that religion shares an ongoing dynamic relationship with the realities of everyday life. Religious expression happens at home, on the streets, at work and school.
Offering insight not only into Santería but also into religion more generally, A Year in White makes an important contribution to our understanding of complex, dynamic religious landscapes in multicultural, pluralist societies and how they inhabit our daily lives.
Young, White, and Miserable is a critically acclaimed study that compellingly shows how the feminist movement of the 1960s found momentum in the seemingly peaceable time of the 1950s. Wini Breines explores white middle class America and argues that mixed messages given to girls during this decade lent fuel to the fire that would later become known as feminism. Concluding with a look at the life and suicide of social scientist Anne Parsons, this book is a poignant and important look into conditions that led to the women's movement.