Fight Media Hegemony with a Trickster’s Critique: Ishmael Reed’s Faction about O.J. and Media Lynching

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[by Yuqing Lin] Editor’s Note: The Project HBW Blog mostly traffics in shorter pieces, but from time to time we like to present our readers with a longer piece, as well, in a feature we call Taking the Long View.  For this installment, we feature scholar Yuqing Lin’s insightful, challenging review of Ishmael Reed’s recent novel Juice! Thanks to HBW Lead Blogger Dr. Jerry W. […]

Jesmyn Ward and the National Book Awards

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[By Goyland Williams] In 2011, the National Book Foundation awarded book awards in poetry and fiction to Nikky Finney and Jesmyn Ward, respectively. I go back to that moment in 2011 because it is and was a rare occasion when not one, but two black women received one of the premier prizes for writers. Furthermore, it was the first time that I—a young black man […]

A Lament for Ralph Ellison

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[By Jerry Ward] HBW Board Member Prof. Jerry Ward responds to questions posed on the HBW Blog and Facebook Accounts QUESTION:    The Invisible Man creates a space outside of time where he indeed can begin to imagine and construct new relations between the past and present as well as art and technology.  By doing so, he creates a new black future.  How can I expand […]

Reading Gayl Jones Corregidora: The Body Text

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[By Goyland Williams] The Corregidora women are haunted. The trauma is evident. Entrenched in a narrative marred by the legacy of slavery, oppression, and the ghost of the past, Gayl Jones explores what Susan Sontag calls “collective instruction” of traumatic narratives that are inscribed upon the flesh of the Corregidora women. Lines become blurred. The personal, familial, and collective remembrances of violent histories collide. In […]

A Lesson Before Dying: Notes for Human Liberation

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[By Goyland Williams] Ernest Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying has been compared to the works of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and even William Faulkner. Much like these writers, Gaines calls the reader to confront the entire bitter history of black people in the South and America as a whole. No doubt, Gaines writes this piece just as much for the white youth of this country […]

An Ethic of Quiet: Beyond the Black Public Self

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[By Goyland Williams] It is 1968. Tommie Smith, John Carlos, and Peter Norman stand poised during the Olympic medal ceremony in Mexico City. Both Smith and Carlos’ heads are bowed-as if in deep prayer, their clinched fists are raised high, and their black bodies are on display for all the world to see. And while this public protest may be read as both intimate and […]

A Black Humanist Theology: Reading Toni Morrison

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[By Goyland Williams] My research interest in philosophy and literature- more specifically, Existentialism, has continuously led me to the works of Toni Morrison. And while Morrison’s works need no justification—philosophical or literary—they present an opportunity to consider how the history of oppression can afflict a group of people, both past and present. The Bluest Eye presents the most compelling response to the question Dubois raised […]