These traditions go on to honor those heroic Black Americans and keep their same spirit of drive, ambition and making do until freedom and prosperity.
Every time I have declared the internet a graver impediment than asset to arts and culture, something comes along to renew my faith I will be wrong. That something came out of inspiration to commemorate Juneteenth with a listen to a live performance of Tyehimba Jess's Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection OLIO, transformed to an original production of Audible.
Bolivians of African descent introduced Jensen to Saya music, an old artform which was a universal language in the Spanish-speaking land of their political and labor oppressors. Jensen’s film documents Saya music of today.
“I think as more scholars and laymen are courageous enough to tell and discuss these messy stories, the stain will be there although inside a larger narrative. The stain is the multi-layered pain. The stain is also complacency with old stories that rightly emphasize real oppression, although to the exclusion of evidence that complicates the oppression.” -Sharony Green...from the final installment of her interview for her recently-released book, Remember Me to Miss Louisa: Hidden Black-White Intimacies in Antebellum America (Northern Illinois University Press; 2015; $24.95; ISBN: 978-0-87580-723-2).
“Yes, it’s hard to write and publish a book like this with Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray and so many others no longer with us. Trayvon attended my sister’s church. His mother still does. These souls and racism are right here beside all of my messy evidence, past and present.” -Dr. Sharony Green, historian and author
"Critical study of womanhood, in all its complexities, is needed for today’s women who are still living through so many oppressions. Not that much has happened that we get to escape societal agreements about our sanity, our worth, our ability to contribute, our need for rest and to be protected and to protect and so on." Dr. Sharony Green, on her work and book "Remember Me to Miss Louisa: Hidden Black-White Intimacies in Antebellum America"
To understand how the joyous occasion of motherhood was a form of suffering for black female slave, please read this excellent post on “the book Birthing a Slave: Motherhood and Medicine in the Antebellum South, by Marie Jenkins Schwartz. The book tells the history of a somewhat esoteric subject: the need of slaveholders, and the doctors they hired, to control and manage the bodies and reproductive lives of slave women.”
We can have more admiration for black mothers and families today if we understand just how much our ancestral histories included so many challenges meant to destroy them.
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Most people know of slavery, but we don’t know about slavery. Specifically, we don’t know how dehumanizing it was to be a slave.
We might understand what it’s like to be denied freedom or dignity at an intellectual level. But for many of us, we don’t have a grasp on how horrible the institution was, in the day to day life of an enslaved person. Most of us don’t “get” what it was about inhuman bondage that made it so inhuman.
For example: what was it like to be slave mother?
Some insights on this are given in the book Birthing a Slave: Motherhood and Medicine in the Antebellum South, by Marie Jenkins Schwartz. The book tells the history of a somewhat esoteric subject: the need of slaveholders, and the doctors they hired, to control and manage the bodies and reproductive lives of slave women.
But while the subject is…
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