Lifting As We Climb Revisited: The Clubwomen of the Kansas State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs

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On June 14, 1916, Mrs. Charles W. French of Newton, Kansas, rose from her seat during the 16th Annual Session of the Kansas State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs in Parsons, Kansas, to denounce the Jim Crow laws in the host city.  Mrs. French stated that “[the women], regardless of color be admitted to theatres, and that some step be taken to investigate the reason […]

“Of Maids and Ladies”: Dr. Ayesha Hardison on Living Jane Crow

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[by Creighton N. Brown and Simone Savannah] On Thursday, October 30, 2014, Langston Hughes Visiting Professor Ayesha Hardison examined the oppressive situation faced by women of color after the Civil War and through the Jim Crow Era in a talk entitled “Of Maids and Ladies: The Ethics of Living Jane Crow” at The University of Kansas. Working from the decline of the mammy in postbellum […]

#HandsUpWalkOut

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On Monday, August 25, students, faculty and staff from KU took part in a #HandsUpWalkOut Demonstration in honor of Michael Brown.  Megan Kaminski, assistant professor in the English department, organized the event.  Kaminski read an excerpt from Audre Lorde’s poem “For Each of You,” published in Lorde’s collection From a Land Where Other People Live (1973). For Each of You Be who you are and […]

Lucille Clifton: The People’s Poet

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[By Jeff Westover] The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 (BOA Editions, 2012), edited by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glaser, makes available “all the poems Lucille Clifton published in book form during her lifetime” as well as a significant amount of her unpublished poetry (xxvii). This 769-page volume is a welcome addition to the list of Clifton’s publications, since it includes work not gathered […]

Reflections on a NEH Institute: Cornelia Walker Bailey and Sapelo Island

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[By Will Cunningham] Cornelia Walker Bailey is Sapelo Island. She is a descendant of Bilali, of whom she writes in her memoir that “If you had been standing on the white sands of this island at day clean in 1803, or a little later, you might have seen a tall, dark-skinned man with narrow features, his head covered with a cap resembling  a Turkish fez, […]

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 […]