Teaching Black Writing in Wuhan

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[by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.]  Teaching graduate students in the School of Foreign Languages at Central China Normal University is rewarding. They are less jaded and more receptive than their American peers, more conscious that a university education is a privilege rather than an entitlement dispensed by a secular god. Lacking familiarity with our democratic hypocrisies and noteworthy disdain for humanistic inquiry, most Chinese students […]

Disney and Diversity in the 21st Century: Part 1

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[By: Dr. Maryemma Graham] Diversity has become a vexed issue in the 21st century.  Once it was a priority in our corporate and education sectors, with accountability for its implementation built in. Today, it has become that carefully crafted phrase one sees on websites, usually so watered down we pay scarce attention. Even when we were not guided by a principle but by underlying marketing […]

Richard Wright’s Formal and Informal Networks

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[By Kenton Rambsy] The overall importance of RichardWright in African American literary and intellectual history makes it vital to consider his background and educational development in order to fully appreciate how he became such a significant figure. Wright’s move to Mississippi as a adolescent and his enrollment at Jim Hill Primary School were key factors in the expansion of his life chances and opportunities. Hazel […]

How Richard Wright’s Mother and Grandmother Taught him to Revere the Imaginative

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[By Kenton Rambsy] A consideration of Richard Wright’s childhood provides an opportunity for continuing to unpack the often hidden baggage associated with “self-taught” education. Wright’s maternal grandmother and mother were likely key and early contributors to the young Wright’s intellectual development.    Hazel Rowley writes in Richard Wright: The Life and Times that Wright’s mother Ella Wilson Wright was a significant figure in his educational […]

Education and Revolution: Reading the novels of Sutton E. Griggs and Toni Morrison

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[By Kenton Rambsy] Continuing our conversations of linking education to freedom Sutton E. Griggs’s Imperium in Imperio (1899) and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon (1977). Griggs’s principle characters Bernard Belgrave and Belton Piedmont and Morrison’s secondary character Guitar Baines both illustrate how black people subvert educational practices as a means to produce alternative political societies in America.  Echoing the sentiments of Frederick Douglass’s narrative the […]

Black Men and Informal Educational Networks

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[By Kenton Rambsy] Over the past two weeks, I have explored how issues related to literacy and access as central thematic concerns in books by African American writers. Here is a list of novels,  ranging from 1852-2006, mentioned so far:   Frederick Douglass’s Heroic Slave (1852) Martin Delany’s Blake; or, the Huts of America (1862) Sutton E. Griggs’s Imperium in Imperio (1899) Ishmael Reed’s Flight […]