If I am not who you say I am then you are not who you think you are. Whenever observance for July 4th approaches, historical reflection is appropriate. This year, 2015, has been a time when chickens came home to roost. The racism and prejudice fostered in this nation for centuries have triggered events that we Americans are confronting and hopefully have the will to change. Recently, on the suggestion Read More

Source Documents for Blog Posts (May-August, 2012)

Text: A Forgotten History: The Slave Trade and Slavery in New England, Choices for the 21st Century Education Program, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, (2008). This work provides an overview of enslavement and the human trade of Africans in New England from the colonial period through the Revolutionary War. Based on primary sources and quotes it is an ideal teaching tool for instructors and students with an interest Read More

Haiti: The First Black Republic in the Western Hemisphere

This small and beautiful nation is a text book case of the victim being blamed for the crimes/injustices perpetuated against it. The historic role of the United States in the deliberate destruction of this country is not completely known. Since the presidency of Thomas Jefferson until the 21st century the United States of America has repeatedly done everything in its power to destroy Haiti. Why? According to historian James Sidbury: Read More

An Elder: Vincent Harding

The formal public inauguration of The Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project in Baltimore, Maryland is quickly approaching.  As we come close to that first commemorative event in August, we want our readers and supporters to become acquainted with members of our advisory and honorary boards. We believe that with a better understanding of the people who have chosen to be affiliated with the project, our vision and mission Read More

Source Documents for Blog Posts (February – April, 2012)

Audio/Visual: “First Time I Saw Big Water” Composed and produced by Bernice Johnson Reagon, performed by Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon for the PBS-WGBH film series Africans in America, Executive Producer, Orlando Bagwell “Betye Saar, National Visionary”: National Visionary Leadership Project: African American History. The video consists of ten interviews in which Ms. Saar personally relates her artistry, family background, professional experiences and influences during a life time dedicated Read More

Keorapetse Kgositsile and Brenda Marie Osbey at Brown University, April 2011

This spring two premier poets, one from South Africa and one from the United States, exemplified the connection through word art of the Continent and the Americas. We were fortunate enough to obtain Charles Cobb’s introduction of them to the Brown community. A webcast of this historic event was made and if any blog visitor is interested please contact the Department of Africana Studies, Brown University for access. The temptation Read More

It’s the State of the Union

Aime Cesaire, the great Martiniquan poet and statesman, said of the French Surrealist Movement after he discontinued his membership with the organization, “I cannot serve a system that cannot and will not serve me.” Inspired by Langston Hughes, Claude McKay and others of the Harlem Renaissance, he, Cesaire, along with Leopold Senghor of Senegal and French Guianan, Leon Gontron Damas, spearheaded the Negritude Movement while they were students in Paris. Read More

Developing a National and Global Identity

The previous post, Imagine: From the Black Atlantic to a New World Order, triggered an idea which we would like to continue to explore. First, what image comes to mind when you are asked to envision or describe a person from Ecuador? Brazilian religious practices? Traits of the Mexican persona? Cuban music? The literature of Uruguay or the politics of Columbia? Do any of these reflect an African influence in Read More

Science/ Fiction?

Many people state that they do not like to read science fiction, that it is a genre with no appeal. There also is the cliché that life imitates art, and vice versa. How closely now does this society resemble the novel 1984? We would like to turn this on its head and propose that those of us who are involved with the African Diaspora have been a part of science Read More

It’s Like Having No Navel

In Toni Morrison’s novel Song of Solomon, one character, Milkman’s aunt Pilate, is described as having no navel, no evidence of connection with a progenitor, no root. That was always an unimaginable, impossible image. It grates against all that we know to be human and natural. She went from place to place with a box pierced into her ear containing a clue of the past and  also carried a sack Read More