DID YOU KNOW?
Edenton, NC, provided slaves a means of escape with the Maritime Underground Railroad before Emancipation. Edenton was also the home of the escaped slave, abolitionist and writer Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897), who hid there for seven years before fleeing to freedom.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, originally published in 1861.
One of the first personal narratives by a slave and one of the few written by a woman.
The following link gives you access to 100's of sites and thousands of historical pictures depicting the rich history of a people destined for greatness through struggle and redemption
African American Historical
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LYNCHING IN AMERICA
A NEW NARRATIVE
Here is how author Charles Johnson, the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Professor for Excellence in English at the University of Washington, Seattle, characterizes the current black American narrative:
It is a very old narrative, one we all know quite well, and it is a tool we use, consciously or unconsciously, to interpret or to make sense of everything that has happened to black people in this country since the arrival of the first 20 Africans at the Jamestown colony in 1619. A good story always has a meaning (and sometimes layers of meaning); it also has an epistemological mission: namely, to show us something. It is an effort to make the best sense we can of the human experience, and I believe that we base our lives, actions, and judgments as often on the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves (even when they are less than empirically sound or verifiable) as we do on the severe rigor of reason. This unique black American narrative, which emphasizes the experience of victimization, is quietly in the background of every conversation we have about black people, even when it is not fully articulated or expressed. It is our starting point, our agreed-upon premise, our most important presupposition for dialogues about black America.
Johnson begins his argument by analyzing just what a story is, asking:
These are the questions he tells his students they must ask of a story, adding that a story must offer “a conflict that is clearly presented, one that we care about, a dilemma or disequilibrium for the protagonist that we, as readers, emotionally identify with.”
Does the black American story meet the criteria? Yes, Johnson says, it “beautifully embodies all these narrative virtues.”
Johnson builds his argument by summarizing the horrors of slavery and subsequent oppression. He calls the Civil Rights Movement “the most important and transformative domestic event in American history” after the Civil War. In sum, “The conflict of this story is first slavery, then segregation and legal disenfranchisement. The meaning of the story is group victimization, and every black person is the story’s protagonist.”
Johnson invokes the words of W.E.B. DuBois and the success of today’s prominent African-Americans (such as Obama and Oprah) to “challenge, culturally and politically, an old group narrative that fails at the beginning of this new century to capture even a fraction of our rich diversity and heterogeneity.” He critiques Louis Farrakhan and discusses a scholarly debacle in which a 19th Century black woman writer turned out to be white, “a cautionary tale for scholars and an example of how our theories, our explanatory models, and the stories we tell ourselves can blind us to the obvious, leading us to see in matters of race only what we want to see based on our desires and political agendas.”
I am vastly oversimplifying here and drastically summarizing when I’m longing to paste the whole article into this space. Bottom line: It’s an important article not only for what it says about Black Americans but for what its says about story and narrative.
And what narrative should replace the existing one? Johnson writes:
In the 21st century, we need new and better stories, new concepts, and new vocabularies and grammar based not on the past but on the dangerous, exciting, and unexplored present, with the understanding that each is, at best, a provisional reading of reality, a single phenomenological profile that one day is likely to be revised, if not completely overturned. These will be narratives that do not claim to be absolute truth, but instead more humbly present themselves as a very tentative thesis that must be tested every day in the depths of our own experience and by all the reliable evidence we have available, as limited as that might be. … These will be narratives of individuals, not groups. And is this not exactly what Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of when he hoped a day would come when men and women were judged not by the color of their skin, but instead by their individual deeds and actions, and the content of their character?
Sonya Haynes Stone Center For Black Culture and History
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~Bibliography of Booksafricanamericanhistory
Assorted Books for African American History Month
Jazz by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Color of Water by James McBride
Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Eyes on the Prize - America's Civil Rights Years: A Reader and Guide by Clayborne Carson
Native Son by Richard Wright
The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
Black Voices by Abraham Chapman
Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis
Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King Jr by Stephen B. Oates
Bearing the Cross by Martin Luther King Jr.
The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou
The Sixteenth Round by Rubin Carter
King of the World by David Remnick
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down by Ralph David Abernathy
The 7th Child by Malcolm X
The Death and Life of Malcolm X by Peter Goldman
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr by Martin Luther King Jr.
Black Genius and the American Experience by Dick Russell
Blues for Mister Charlie by James Baldwin
When Harlem Was In Vouge by David Levering Lewis
Sula by Toni Morrison
Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Dreamer by Charles Johnson
Days of Rondo by Evelyn Fairbanks
Voices of Rondo by Kateleen Jill Hope Cavett
Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales by Nelson Mandela
Her Stories: The African-American Folktales, Fairytales and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton
Ashley Bryan's African Tales, uh-huh by Ashley Bryan
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton
Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia McKissack
When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing by Virginia Hamilton
John Henry by Julius Lester
Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit by Julius Lester
Freedom Riddle by Angela Medearis
Lucky Jack and the Giant: An African-American Legend by Janet Johnson
Keelboat Annie: An African-American Legend by Janet Johnson
Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby: An African-American Legend by Janet Johnson