LeRoi Jones/ 1963

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[By Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] It seems to be an innocent use of time when we celebrate memory at intervals of fifty years.  The ghosts of things past, however, can become rowdy.  Things can get out of hand.  Reflection on then and now, dignity,and solemnity could have marked celebration of the historic March on Washington. The March was not about Dr. King and a good […]

Future Revolution in Critical Talk

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[By Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Lu Xun (Zhou Shuren 1881-1936), one of modern China’s most important writers, understood the danger of premature celebrations.  “The first thing is not to become intoxicated by victory,” he wrote in an essay on success in Nanjing and Shanghai,” and not to boast; the second thing is to consolidate the victory; the third is to give the enemy the finishing […]

Alice Walker, Autobiographical Contract, and Sciences of Memory

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[By Jerry Ward, Jr.] Definition is essential.  What does womanist mean and what is its relation to feminist?  Does the assertion that womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender explain saturation as a major difference in historical experience?  The various essays, bits of interviews, poetry (inside prose frames) and reviews collected in Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens (1983) suggest an […]

Daniel Black’s ‘Perfect Peace’

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[By Will Cunningham] In Perfect Peace (2010), contemporary novelist Daniel Black poses a series of interesting questions: What is gender? How is it constructed? What if a backwoods mother of six boys raises her seventh boy as a girl? And what if she convinces everyone that he (she) is a girl? In 2011 at the African American Sexualities Conference at Penn State, I asked Black […]

6 Texts That Aid in the Study of African American Literature

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[By Simone Savannah] After returning from the College Language Association (CLA), I wondered what I should write blog about this week. I learned so many new things through networking and listening to my colleagues and professors speak, and I wondered how I could take all of it in and simultaneously offer knowledge to others. And because The Project on the History of Black Writing is […]

Black Drama and the Alarm Clock

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[By Jerry W. Ward] TIME PAST In the early 1970s, people in what was then the Black Community took some interest in the April issues of Black World, a rich source of cultural information edited by Hoyt W. Fuller. Those issues were devoted to reporting and commentary on Black drama; they satisfied our desire to know what was happening in Black theater.  We had a […]

Transformation of Black Fiction into Film

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[By Jerry W. Ward] Transformation of fiction into film necessitates deformations. Some transformations may enhance a flawed story, but they frequently cheapen the nuances of strong fiction. Viewers who have not read the source may logically think the film is excellent. Readers who move from the source to the film may have a quite different opinion, for they know that the probable intentions of the […]