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ICYMI: The Last Week in Black Writing and Culture (10/23-10/30)

Last semester we posted an interview highlighting HBW’s very own Crystal Bradshaw. After much anticipation, Crystal’s memoir, Eliza: A Generational Journey, was recently released. Be on the lookout for a review of Crystal’s book early next week!

Poet Gregory Pardlo asks, “What is it that is making me invisible?” Pardlo won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his book Digest, and yet consistently interacts with people who have never heard of him or his work. Pardlo speculates that the lack of diversity in the publishing industry has created “blind spots” that allows writers of color such as himself to remain in the margins.

In NPR’s All Things Considered, Toni-Tipton Martin explores the impact that African American women have had on American Cuisine through her new book The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks. Martin attempts to break the “code” or stereotype that African American women only cooked obscure and inconsequential food. Instead, she argues much of the food that African American women chefs cooked have become staples of the American diet, despite the ongoing stereotype of “black food.”

D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation was a big hit with white audiences, but its “racial distortions of the Civil War and Reconstruction-era United States” offended many African Americans. In response, Emmett J. Scott began filming his own movie, The Birth of a Race, to contest Griffith’s film and offer a more accurate representation of African Americans in history. Unfortunately, filming came to a halt half way through and the footage was thrown away. Scott’s prospectus still exists and remains the only print evidence of the movie’s existence.

The e-book vs. print battle – which book is winning? While there was an initial mass hysteria by print book publishers when e-books were released, recent data shows the battle is beginning to level. But, there’s more…

“Black Women Matter, a Poem,” by Raven Davidson. Davidson is a graduate student at Illinois State University. Her poem speaks to her experience as a queer black woman.