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Thread: Celebrating Black-American Literature

  1. #16
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Ah! The fame and glory of ad copywriting. I once wrote copy for The Bradford Exchange, dealers in fine collector's plates. My boss was a very nice and talented guy (I was 22 or so), who believed that AD copywriting was as admirable an art, and as fair a demonstration of literary skill, as writing novels, plays or poems. He was actually a very, very good writer and editor, and helped me a lot, making sure I chose the right word instead of the one that was almost right. He started his own "collectors" company, and became a multi-millionaire. If memory serves, no African-Americans wrote copy (or served in any professional positions) at the Bradford Exchange (you must have seen their ads, but the mailings we did were actually brilliant, if slightly manipualtive and deceptive. Caveat Emptor!

  2. #17
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    Countee Cullen

    Best known as a poet he was also a novelist, children's writer, and playwright; he was also a controversial figure in the Harlem Renaissance:

    http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps...ullen/life.htm

    “If the aim of the Harlem Renaissance was, in part, the reinvention of the native-born Negro as a being who can be assimilated while decidedly retaining something called "a racial self-consciousness," then Cullen fit the bill. If "I Have a Rendezvous with Life" was the opening salvo in the making of Culln's literary reputation, then the 1924 publication of "Shroud of Color" in H. L. Mencken's American Mercury confirmed the advent of the black boy wonder as one of the most exciting American poets on the scene. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from NYU, Cullen earned a masters degree in English and French from Harvard (1925-1927). Between high school and his graduation from Harvard, Cullen was the most popular black poet and virtually the most popular black literary figure in America.”

    Poetry:

    https://www.poemhunter.com/countee-cullen/poems/

    His poem Incident contains the derogatory n-word which shatters the young protagonist’s sensibility.

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor STATELY
    Enchant Me

    Your very being a desire for answer
    Lament not your unassailable mystery
    Enchant me with your dreams

    5-14-2005

  3. #18
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Toni Morrison- (1931)
    "American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University."https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toni_Morrison

    She is mostly known for her novels which shed a new look on Afro-American life and brought black literature into the mainstream. She was awarded several prizes and was the first black woman that received the Nobel (1993).

    "She wanted to write from within. It was the era of "black is beautiful"; everywhere she looked in New York, the black power movement was promoting that slogan. It struck her both as true – "of course" – and at the same time, ahistorical and reactive. "All the books that were being published by African-American guys were saying 'screw whitey', or some variation of that. Not the scholars but the pop books. And the other thing they said was, 'You have to confront the oppressor.' I understand that. But you don't have to look at the world through his eyes. I'm not a stereotype; I'm not somebody else's version of who I am. And so when people said at that time black is beautiful – yeah? Of course. Who said it wasn't? So I was trying to say, in The Bluest Eye, wait a minute. Guys. There was a time when black wasn't beautiful. And you hurt.'"
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...-home-son-love

    A lengthy BBC documentary about her;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjmuzU1ec3o
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 02-09-2018 at 09:28 PM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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    Gwendolyn Brooks

    An earlier post in this thread featured an example of what has been called a “dialect” poem. Verse written in this informal language, specifically the kind which supposedly mimicked the vernacular of Black people was popular in the early twentieth century.

    Verse written in dialect comfortably fit into the accepted stereotypes about Black Americans at the time, in much the same way that Hollywood depicted black people. Mervyn LeRoy’s 1937 film They Won’t Forget took a stand again lynch mobs; yet ironically a minor character played by Clinton Rosemond is embarrassingly offensive. In his childhood, James Baldwin (cf. Reply # 11 above) loved going to the movies, but seeing characters such as played by Stepin Fetchit and Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas disheartened him and very likely raised his consciousness about his racial identity.

    Despite such pitfalls, in most cases it is vital for artists to depict their subjects as accurately as possible. It is possible to use the language of real life respectfully. Langston Hughes was able to do that. So did today’s featured poet, Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000.) A good example is the frequently anthologized “We Real Cool”

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...2/we-real-cool

    On the other hand, Gwendolyn Brooks was a technical virtuoso, a master of formal verse as well as the difficult skill involved in using slant rhyme. Illustrating this point is another poem which treats its theme in a formal way.

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...e-ice-and-fire

    Gwendolyn Brooks is known for many “firsts”: first Black American woman to be: awarded the Pulitzer Prize (for Annie Allen, 1950), inducted into the
    American Academy of Arts and Letters, and to be appointed an early manifestation of the position of Poet Laureate of the United States (1985.)

    http://www.pulitzer.org/article/fros...endolyn-brooks

    Although always dedicated to reflecting her own heritage, Gwendolyn Brooks became more politically aware at the age of 50 after attending a event at Fisk University. In a sense, she was already ‘woke” (to use the current term), but she emphasized the aspect of “unity” embodied by a metaphorical “handshake” rather than bitter militancy.

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/gwendolyn-brooks

    Her brilliant accomplishments were fondly recollected in her New York Times obituary by Mel Watkins

    http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/04/bo...ies-at-83.html
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 02-09-2018 at 05:37 PM.

  5. #20
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    Charles W. Chesnutt 1858 - 1932

    Thumbnail sketch on LitNet: http://www.online-literature.com/charles-chesnutt/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_W._Chesnutt

    "an African-American author, essayist, political activist and lawyer, best known for his novels and short stories exploring complex issues of racial and social identity in the post-Civil War South." Three of his works were adapted in film.

    "Chesnutt's stories were more complex than those of many of his contemporaries. He wrote about characters dealing with difficult issues of mixed race, "passing", illegitimacy, racial identities, and social place throughout his career. As in "The Wife of His Youth", Chesnutt explored issues of color and class preference within the black community, including among longtime free people of color in northern towns."

    "Chesnutt's speech/essay chronicled black achievements and black poverty. He called for full civil and political rights for all African Americans.

    He had little tolerance for the new ideology of race pride. He envisioned instead a nation of "one people molded by the same culture." He concluded his remarks with the following statement, made 58 years before Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech:" From "Race Prejudice; Its Causes and Its Cure" (1905)
    Looking down the vista of time I see an epoch in our nation's history, not in my time or yours, but in the not distant future, when there shall be in the United States but one people, moulded by the same culture, swayed by the same patriotic ideals, holding their citizenship in such high esteem that for another to share it is of itself to entitle him to fraternal regard; when men will be esteemed and honored for their character and talents. When hand in hand and heart with heart all the people of this nation will join to preserve to all and to each of them for all future time that ideal of human liberty which the fathers of the republic set out in the Declaration of Independence, which declared that 'all men are created equal', the ideal for which [William Lloyd] Garrison and [Wendell] Phillips and [Sen. Charles] Sumner lived and worked; the ideal for which [Abraham] Lincoln died, the ideal embodied in the words of the Book [Bible] which the slave mother learned by stealth to read, with slow-moving finger and faltering speech, and which I fear that some of us have forgotten to read at all-the Book which declares that "God is no respecter of persons, and that of one blood hath he made all the nations of the earth."
    eText of The House Behind the Cedars... http://docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/che...cheshouse.html

    eText of Po' Sandy... http://fullreads.com/literature/po-sandy/

    Poems: http://www.chesnuttarchive.org/Works/Poems/poems.html

    An unexpected find: History Of Black Science Fiction:
    Expanded Course in the History of Black Science Fiction/Nisi Shawl: “The Goophered Grapevine” by Charles W. Chesnutt - (an analysis) -
    https://www.tor.com/2017/01/09/expan...s-w-chestnutt/
    Enchant Me

    Your very being a desire for answer
    Lament not your unassailable mystery
    Enchant me with your dreams

    5-14-2005

  6. #21
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Ai

    In Japanese "ai" means love. In Portuguese it is an interjection of pain. Because of her mixture of races which include Japanese, Black, Indian and Irish, she is an outsider even among the outsiders. Her poems, "dramatic first person monologues", give voice to the marginalized and the abused but not in a conventional, moralist way.
    Bio and poems: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/ai

    Passing Through
    BY AI
    “Earth is the birth of the blues,” sang Yellow Bertha,
    as she chopped cotton beside Mama Rose.
    It was as hot as any other summer day,
    when she decided to run away.
    Folks say she made a fortune
    running a whorehouse in New Orleans,
    but others say she’s buried somewhere out west,
    her grave unmarked,
    though you can find it in the dark
    by the scent of jasmine and mint,
    but I’m getting ahead of myself.
    If it wasn’t for hell,
    we’d all be tapdancing with the devil
    Mama Rose used to say,
    but as it is, we just stand and watch,
    while someone else burns up before salvation.
    “People desire damnation, Bertha,” she said,
    unwrapping the rag from her head
    to let the sweat flow down the corn rows,
    plaited as tightly as the night coming down
    on the high and mighty on judgment day.
    They say she knew what was coming,
    because she threw some bones that morning.
    She bent down to pick up her rag which had fallen
    and when she straightened up, her yellow gal
    had gone down the road.
    “Go then,” she called out, “I didn’t want you no how.”
    Then she started talking to herself
    about how Old White John caught her milking cows.
    “He wrestled me to the ground and did his nastiness.”
    He said, “your daddy was a slave and his daddy
    and I’m claiming back what’s mine.”
    It was July. I remember fireworks going off outside.
    When Bertha come, so white
    she liked to scared me to death,
    I let her suckle my breast
    and I said, “All right, little baby,
    maybe I’ll love you. Maybe.”
    Mama Rose said she did her best,
    but it’s hard to raise a gal like that
    with everybody thinking she’s giving them the high hat,
    because she’s so light and got those green eyes
    that look right through you. She frightens people.
    Even men, who’re usually wanting to saddle up
    and ride that kind of mare, can’t abide her.
    They’re afraid if they try her, they’ll never be the same.
    The only ones willing are white.
    They’re watching her day and night,
    but they know John swore to kill any man
    who touched her,
    because lo and behold, he owns up to her.
    He’s proud of her. Nobody can believe it.
    He’s even at her baptism.
    He buys her cheap dresses and candy at the store.
    He hands it to her out the door,
    because she can’t go in.
    He won’t, he won’t stop looking at her
    like it’s some kind of miracle she was born
    looking so much like him and his people.
    It’s a warning, or something.
    “It’s evil turning back on itself,” said the preacher
    the Sunday cut clean through by the truth,
    by the living proof, as Old John stood up in church
    and testified to the power of God,
    who spoke to him that morning,
    telling him he was a sinner.
    He died that winter. Horrible suffering, they say.
    He had a stroke on the way to town.
    His car ran off the road and he drowned.
    They say Bertha found him.
    They say she ran all the way to town for the doctor,
    who told her, “I am not a colored doctor,”
    so she went and got the sheriff.
    He listened for a while, then he locked her in a cell.
    He said he knew she was guilty of something.
    Well, after a while, Rose went down there
    and I swear she nearly had a fit.
    “Get my daughter out here,” she said.
    “How can you lock up your own brother’s child?”
    The sheriff knew it was true, so finally he said,
    “You take her and don’t ever cross my path again.”
    When Bertha passed him on the way out,
    he tripped her with his foot.
    When she got off the floor, she said,
    “Every dog has its day.”

    From that time to this is a straight line,
    pointing at a girl,
    who doesn’t even have shoes anymore,
    as she runs down the road,
    throwing off her ragged clothes, as she goes,
    until she’s as naked as the day she was born.
    When she comes to washing hanging on the line,
    she grabs a fine dress and keeps on running.
    She’s crying and laughing at the same time.
    Along comes a truck that says J. GOODY on the side.
    The man driving stops to give her a ride.
    He swings the door open on the passenger side,
    but Bertha says, “Move over, I’ll drive.”
    When she asks him why he stopped,
    he says, “I know white trash, when I see it.
    You’re just like me, but you're a girl. You’re pretty.
    You can free yourself. All you have to do
    is show a little leg and some titty in the big city.”
    He gave her fifty cents and a wink
    and she started thinking she might as well turn white.
    She got a job waiting table in a dance hall.
    One night, the boss heard her
    singing along with the band.
    He said, “Why don’t you go up on stage,”
    and she said, “I play piano too.”
    He said, “Howdy do.”
    From then on, she made everybody pay
    one way, or another.
    She got hard. She took lovers—
    fathers, sons, and husbands.
    It didn't matter,
    but once in a while, she heard her mother’s voice,
    saying, “You made the wrong choice,”
    and she felt the blues
    and she let loose with a shout.
    “Lordy,” said the boss, “you sound colored.”
    More and more people came to hear her sing,
    but they kind of feared her too.
    They said, she was too white to sing the blues like that.
    It wasn’t right.
    One night, she got to talking with the boss.
    He walked round and round the office, shaking his head,
    saying how much he’d lose,
    if she stopped singing the blues.
    “How often can you find a treasure like mine,” he said,
    laying his hand on her shoulder,
    then he said, “If I weren’t so old,”
    and his voice dropped off to a whisper,
    then he said, “I got the answer now, sweet Roberta.
    Go on down to the dressing room and wait.”
    It didn't take long.
    He came in and set a jar on the table.
    “What do I do with this?” Asked Bertha.
    He said, “you’re going to pass for colored.”
    Suddenly, she was wearing blackface.
    Suddenly, she was safe on the other side
    of the door she slammed on the past
    and it was standing open at last.
    She could come and go as she pleased
    and no one saw her enter, or leave.
    She was free, she was freed,
    but she didn’t feel it
    and she needed it to be real.
    She went on, though. She flowed like a river,
    carrying the body of a man,
    who had himself a nigger, because he could.
    She lived. She got old.
    She almost froze one cold spell
    and she got up from her sickbed
    and told her daughter
    she got during the change of life
    it was time to go.
    She sewed a note to her ragged coat.
    It said, “This is the granddaughter of Mama Rose.”
    She put fifty cents in her hand
    and went to stand with her at the bus stop.
    She would not return, but her child
    had earned the right to go home.

    When I got off the bus,
    a hush fell over the people waiting there.
    I was as white as my mother,
    but my eyes were gray, not green.
    I had hair down to my waist and braids so thick
    they weighed me down.
    Mother said, my father was a white musician
    from another town,
    who found out her secret
    and left her and me to keep it.
    Mama Rose knew me, though, blind as she was.
    “What color are you, gal?” She asked
    and I told her, “I’m as black as last night.”
    That's how I passed, without asking permission.

    Ai, "Passing Through" from Vice: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1999 by Ai. Reprinted with the permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
    Source: Vice: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1999)
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 02-10-2018 at 01:23 PM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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  7. #22
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    Black American Genre Writers

    There often seems to be two distinct worlds of reading material: the first- Literature with a capital “L”- is considered more seriously than the second. This lighter fare, often dismissed as “popular” or “escapist” fiction, occasionally ventures over into the rarefied world by handling significant themes while reflecting the real world in which the works were created.

    We don’t immediately associate genre novels with Black writers, but as society finally began to change, the doors slowly, slowly began to open. This is only fitting, for the movement is primarily about equality and inclusion, and if an author wishes to write about life in an earlier era he should have every right to do so.

    Even so, one writer known for his work in historical fiction has been criticized for choosing subjects not customarily found among other Black authors. The creator of thirty novels, Frank Yerby (1916-1991) was subject to the disdain of many critics who “felt his work lacked appropriate racial consciousness.”

    http://www.blackpast.org/aah/yerby-frank-g-1916-1991

    This may not be entirely true about his first novel, The Foxes of Harrow, set in antebellum New Orleans, or his best known work, The Dahomean, about African history. A Darkness at Ingraham’s Crest is subtitled a “Tale of the Slaveholding South.”

    (If not exactly politically correct, Yerby is a million miles away from the racist, white supremist jingoist drivel from historical novelists or the late 19th century, such as G.A. Henty who distorted the real image of minority groups for generations.) Despite the charge of “denying” his heritage, Yerby has been called one of the most commercially successful writers of the twentieth century.

    The P.C. critics who blasted Yerby could not easily make the same charge at of Chester Himes (1909-1984.) His first novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go as well as his second, The Lonely Crusade apparently covered the territory of social consciousness. Yet abstract political polemics were no match for Himes’s own experiences.

    https://www.npr.org/2017/07/26/53948...etective-story

    Himes's future seemed promising, but his academic career at Ohio State University was short-lived, soon to be replaced by a stint in the Ohio State Penitentiary. During that stretch that he began to write. After his parole, he somehow made his way to Hollywood, where he worked as a screenwriter until studio boss Jack Warner, notoriously racist, had him fired. Eventually he moved to Paris where he joined the community of expatriates such as Richard Wright and James Baldwin.

    We know Chester Himes today for his detective novels, some of which were adapted into popular motion pictures such as Cotton Comes to Harlem and A Rage in Harlem, which perhaps could mollify Warner’s injustice to him decades earlier, with -- as any good detective knows --revenge as a dish best served cold.

    Following Chester Himes’s footprints, is a contemporary detective writer, Walter Mosley (b. 1952.) Appearing in several novels, Mosley’s hero is a black detective and WW II vet. One of these stories, Devil in a Blue Dress, has been translated to the screen.

    Though most known for his detective fiction, Mosley has published works on a wider variety of subjects, including the socially aware themes which Frank Yerby’s critics harped about. Mosley shows his insight and hard-fought wisdom in eminently quotable statements such as this:

    Science and religion, capitalism and socialism, caste and character are all on the auction block. The waters are rising while we are dreaming of dancing with the stars. We call ourselves social creatures when indeed we are pack animals. We, many of us, say that we are middle class when in reality we are salt-of-the-earth working-class drones existing at the whim of systems that distribute our life’s blood as so much spare change.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/bo...-the-book.html

    If we can picture genre writing as a Venn diagram, imagine a section set aside for science fiction writing. Now assign part of that section to women science writers. An even smaller slice would be left for Black American science fiction writers.

    Yet they do exist! Perhaps the brightest star in that constellation is Octavia Butler (1947-2006.) The author of several novels of science and fantasy fiction, she won both Hugo and Nova awards. Ms Butler was unique in being the first and only science fiction writer to receive a MacArthur “genius” Award.

    The works themselves are popular, but it is the author herself who garners much attention, if the sheer number of web pages posted by her admirers. She is a cultural icon and an inspiration to science fiction enthusiasts, feminists, and the Black community.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswi...into-the-story

    “I began writing about Power because I had so little.”
    –Octavia Butler

    Coming soon: Richard Wright, Zora, and two writers named Toni
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 02-10-2018 at 07:28 PM.

  8. #23
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Is one of the Tonis, Toni Morrison? I wrote a short post about her, but of course it welcomes additions.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    Is one of the Tonis, Toni Morrison? I wrote a short post about her, but of course it welcomes additions.
    Yes, and I read your piece -- it's great. But if it's all right with you, I will write something about Toni M. on Valentine's Day. Also, something more about Ralph Ellison at the end of the month. I'm saving one of my "faves" for the 28th.

    This household is really hectic on Sundays and I'm just sneaking a few minutes on the Internet machine to make this reply. Otherwise I'd write a full post on another author, but my attention is being pulled elsewhere. Of course, there's no hard and fast rule requiring only one post per author or an Author-an-Day on this thread. It's not vitamins!

  10. #25
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Sure, Aunt Schecky. Both my posts were only informative, I copied and pasted the informations from other sources. For the sake of the reader maybe it would be nice if posts on the same author could be read together.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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  11. #26
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    Georgia Douglas Johnson 1880–1966

    Georgia Douglas Johnson was a poet, playwright, newspaper columnist, songwriter, and the most-published female poet of the Harlem Renaissance:

    "Johnson’s house at 1461 S Street NW, which came to be known as site of the S Street Salon, was an important meeting place for writers of the Harlem Renaissance in Washington, D.C. Johnson published her first poems in 1916 in the NAACP’s magazine Crisis. Her weekly column, Homely Philosophy, was published from 1926 to 1932. She wrote numerous plays, including Blue Blood (performed 1926) and Plumes (performed 1927). Johnson traveled widely in the 1920s to give poetry readings. In 1934 she lost her job in the Department of Labor and returned to supporting herself with temporary clerical work."
    - https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...ouglas-johnson

    I Want to Die While You Love Me - https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/...le-you-love-me

    Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Douglas_Johnson

    https://washingtonart.com/beltway/gdjohnson.html

    eText of Bronze: A Book of Verse: https://archive.org/stream/bronzeabo...sgoog_djvu.txt

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor STATELY
    Last edited by tailor STATELY; 02-13-2018 at 07:24 PM. Reason: repair link by removing "
    Enchant Me

    Your very being a desire for answer
    Lament not your unassailable mystery
    Enchant me with your dreams

    5-14-2005

  12. #27
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    W.E.B. DuBois

    DuBois was an historian, essayist and journalist, as well as being the first African American to get a PhD. from Harvard and the founder of the NAACP. His best known work is "The Souls of Black Folk", a collection of essays.

    Harvard has a proud (though not untainted) history of supporting civil rights. When Edward Everett was President of Harvard in the 1840s, Harvard admitted a black student. Many of the white students threatened to leave the college. Said Everett, "If this boy passes his examinations he will be admitted; and if the white students choose to withdraw, all the income of the college will be devoted to his education."

  13. #28
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    W.E.B. DuBois

    DuBois was an historian, essayist and journalist, as well as being the first African American to get a PhD. from Harvard and the founder of the NAACP. His best known work is "The Souls of Black Folk", a collection of essays.

    Harvard has a proud (though not untainted) history of supporting civil rights. When Edward Everett was President of Harvard in the 1840s, Harvard admitted a black student. Many of the white students threatened to leave the college. Said Everett, "If this boy passes his examinations he will be admitted; and if the white students choose to withdraw, all the income of the college will be devoted to his education."
    Ecurb,

    You probably didn´t notice that there already is a post about DuBois.
    I recomend that posts on the same authors are put together, else this thread may confuse the readers.
    On the other hand there are a lot of poets and authors that weren´t contemplated on this thread as yet.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa...can_literature

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...erican_writers
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    Thank you, Tailor for the info. on Georgia Douglas Johnson, a new author for me. That's exactly what this thread is for.

    Thanks as well to Ecurb for more info on W.E. B. DuBois. A family member recently told me about a beautiful letter DuBois wrote to his daughter. If I locate it on line, I'll post it on this thread.

    And Danik, I totally get what you're saying, Ideally, it would be good for all the info about a particular writer to be in one reply. But occasionally a poster will think of something he or she wants to add about a writer after the initial post.

    One solution is to start new thread(s) on individual authors in order to treat them in depth.

    Right now I'm working on a mini-essay on Richard Wright. I hope to finish it soon, as well as post my thoughts about Toni Morrison et al. Tempus fugit!

    Again, thanks so much for the gratifying enthusiasm and participation in this thread so far.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 02-13-2018 at 05:23 PM.

  15. #30
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    John Willis Menard 1838-1893

    Abolitionist, federal government employee, civil servant, poet, newspaper publisher, and politician... Audio article: https://floridahumanities.org/wp-con...llisMenard.mp3

    Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Willis_Menard - "born in Illinois to parents who were Louisiana Creoles from New Orleans. After moving to New Orleans, on November 3, 1868, Menard was the first black man ever elected to the United States House of Representatives (though he was refused being seated)."

    He was a featured speaker at the Emancipation Jubilee in April 1863, which celebrated the first anniversary of the act which freed enslaved people in the District of Columbia; he composed and read a poem, “One Year Ago Today,” to commemorate the occasion. The poem celebrates the freedom of those who had been enslaved in Washington, but it also expresses hope that the same freedoms will soon be extended to all: “Give liberty to millions yet / ‘Neath despotism’s sway, / That they may praise thee as we did, / One year ago today.”
    - https://randolphsociety.org/john-willis-menard/

    Poem To My Wife - https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/my-wife-10

    Poem Good-Bye! Off For Kansas: https://p.bbdg.net/poem.php?id=10107028

    Poem The Negro's Lament: http://www.poetryexplorer.net/poem.php?id=10107029

    Poem Stoicism: http://www.poetryexplorer.net/poem.php?id=10107031

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor STATELY
    Enchant Me

    Your very being a desire for answer
    Lament not your unassailable mystery
    Enchant me with your dreams

    5-14-2005

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